"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" is a 1967 single released by American soul singer Aretha Franklin on the Atlantic label. The song was co-written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, with input from Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler. The record was a big hit for Franklin, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and became a standard song for her. Franklin also included a live recording on the album Aretha in Paris in 1968. Versions have also been performed and recorded by Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and many others.
Written by the celebrated partnership of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the song was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the "natural man", when he drove by King on the streets of New York. He shouted out to her he wanted a "natural woman" song for Aretha Franklin's next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit.
"Natural Woman" was released by Peggy Lipton in 1968 on her self-titled album on Ode Records, and by Freddie Hughes in 1968 as "Natural Man" (Wand Records 1192).
It was recorded by Carole King on her landmark 1971 album Tapestry. Laura Nyro and Labelle covered the song in a live version for the album Gonna Take A Miracle, released in 1971. Bonnie Tyler did a successful version of the song on her album It's a Heartache (known as Natural Force outside the USA) in 1978. Bobby Womack did a version of the song on his 1973 album Facts of Life with lyrics and title altered to "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man". Rod Stewart covered that version in 1974 for his album Smiler.
Lynda Carter covered this song in her 1981 television music special Lynda Carter's Celebration with Ray Charles.
Whitney Houston covered the song during her Bodyguard World Tour, as part of a portion of her show, that she specifically dedicated to Aretha Franklin. (The Houston cover was never recorded as part of an official album.) Celine Dion recorded the song in 1995 for the Tapestry Revisited album. Mary J. Blige also recorded the song that year. Franklin gave a live performance of the song alongside King, Dion, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain on the first VH1 Divas special in 1998. Kate Ceberano recorded a version for her 2004 album 19 Days in New York.
Carole King and Gloria Estefan performed the song in May 2009 in the She's Got a Friend concerts at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. The audio from one of the performances was included on some editions of Estefan's 2013 album, The Standards. Kelly Clarkson performed the song numerous times, including during the first season of American Idol, the television special World Idol, and as a tribute to King at the 55th Grammy Awards ceremony. In 2011 Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson & Yolanda Adams covered this song at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
Mary J. Blige recording
Celine Dion version
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" was released as a promotional single by Celine Dion in November 1995 in North America and the United Kingdom. It was featured on a tribute album to Carole King, called Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King issued on October 24, 1995. Later, Dion included this track on most editions of her 1996 album Falling into You. The track was produced by David Foster. Dion's version enjoyed a moderate success on the adult contemporary charts, reaching number 4 in Canada and number 31 in the United States. In 2008, the song was featured on the US version of My Love: Ultimate Essential Collection.
On April 14, 1998, Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Gloria Estefan and Carole King performed the song during a VH1 Divas concert at the Beacon Theatre, New York. The five vocalists were recruited by the cable music network VH1 to raise money for Save the Music, their education charity. Hyped extensively in the press, the event was a ratings' winner for VH1 - so successful, in fact, that the network arranged to have the concert released on disc and tape on October 6, 1998. At that time "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (performed by all divas) was released as a radio single in selected countries.
Formats and track listings
1995 promotional CD single
- "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" – 3:40
1998 promotional CD single
- "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (live) – 5:15
- "You've Got a Friend" (live) – 5:28
|Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)