Song of the Day, July 9: (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman
July 9, 2013 1 Comment
Today’s song is a perfect example of the interlocking talent of 60s pop. Producer Jerry Wexler was driving in New York City when the phrase “natural woman” occurred to him. He happened to drive by Carole King, and he rolled down his window and asked her to use the phrase to craft a song for Aretha Franklin. King and her then husband Gerry Goffin wrote (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, giving Wexler a writing credit for his suggestion.
Wexler and Franklin crafted a stellar single. Franklin’s voice has seldom been finer as she wraps herself around the soulful lyrics. The backing music is perfect, building as the song progresses. It’s an amazing song of love and passion with a great spirit of joy that Franklin celebrates as only she can.
Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But your love was the key to my peace of mind
Cause you make me feel, you make me feel, you make me feel like
A natural woman
Franklin took the song to #8 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts in 1967. Three years later, as King began to collect material for her amazing album Tapestry, she revisited Natural Woman. Presenting it as a simple voice-and-piano tune, she invests it with her own brand of soul, creating a distinct, lovely version. It’s an odd occurrence when the effective cover version is by the original writer, but somehow that’s fitting for these two great talents.
ADDED BONUS: When King was a recipient of the 2015 Kennedy Center honors, Franklin appeared as part of the celebration. She performed a stunning version of Natural Woman that brought down the house, moved the President to tears, and had King bouncing in her seat with joy. Enjoy this moving tribute today.