Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You”

Released: March 10, 1967

Label: Atlantic

Genre: Southern Soul

Producer: Jerry Wexler


Aretha Franklin was an established recording artist by the time the year 1967 came around. A child prodigy, Aretha grew up singing gospel at the Detroit baptist church her father C.L. Franklin was a minister at. Aretha went on to sign with Columbia Records, and while she had hit records on the R&B charts…she did not achieve commercial success at the label like they hoped. The label head at the time said they did not understand Aretha’s gospel background and didn’t bring that out in her music during her tenure there. In late 1966, her contract expired with Columbia Records, and Jerry Wexler convinced her to sign with Atlantic Records and honestly that was the best decision that she made during her career.

Jerry Wexler had a huge appreciation for soul music, and actually coined the term rhythm and blues during his time as an editor, reporter and writer for Billboard Magazine. Jerry brought out something in Aretha that her previous producers couldn’t. Wexler’s philosophy to encourage a “tenacious form of R&B” that became coined as soul is exactly what Aretha became: “The Queen of Soul.”

Aretha’s tenth studio album I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You was released March 10. 1967. Her debut album with the Atlantic label, the record gave Aretha not only the freedom to be herself, but gave her worldwide acclaim and superstardom. I like to think this album is her “Emancipation of Mimi.” She was emancipated from the shackles of limited artistic expression, and eventually from her tumultuous marriage from Ted White. The beauty to Aretha’s genius is that she makes you feel every single word she’s sung. Each song resonates with you because if you know Aretha’s life story, it isn’t an easy one. The pain she’s suffered in her life makes her a powerful force from her vocals to her immaculate piano chops!

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You peaked at number one on Billboard R&B album and number two on the Billboard 200 charts respectively. The record was also certified Gold by the RIAA.

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you: Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You.

Side one:


Written by Otis Redding

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, TCB

-Aretha franklin

Originally written and sung by Otis Redding, Respect by Otis and by Aretha have slightly two different interpretations. Otis’ version is sung from the perspective of the man who is literally pleading with his woman to give him his respect after he comes home from a long day of work. Aretha’s version speaks from a strong and confident woman who demands respect from her man in the form of actions instead of words. Aretha and her sisters rewrote the lyrics, & included the signature lyrics listed above & “sock it to me.” a HIT!

Respect not only became a signature song for Aretha, and a landmark for the feminist and the Civil Rights Movement…it was also her first pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and her second number one on the Billboard R&B charts. Considered one of the best songs in pop culture and history, Aretha’s Respect has been added to the Library of Congress for being culturally significant. The song has been sampled and covered by many artists, including Public Enemy, Teena Marie, Kool Moe Dee and even Aretha herself.

Drown in My Own Tears

Written by Henry Glover

Originally sung by Alphonso “Sonny” Thompson & Lula Reed, this blues classic Drown in My Own Tears has been covered by artists like Ray Charles & our good girl Aretha. With background vocals from Ree’s sisters Carolyn & Erma and Cissy Houston (yes, Whitney Houston’s mother,) this rendition is purely flawless. gotta love it!

I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)

Written by Ronnie Shannon

The title track was Aretha’s first biggest hit of her career at the time, and became a defining song for our favorite lady. The first song recorded for the album, Wexler sent Aretha down to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record, and this song was the only song recorded from those sessions at the iconic FAME studios there. “I Never Loved a Man” speaks of the complicated love affair and the singer just don’t know how she could let him do what he’s doing to her. When you never loved anyone the way that you loved this man, you find it hard to shake him.

The song became Aretha’s first number one on the Billboard R&B chart & number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. It has also been certified gold, and sampled by Isaac Hayes.

Soul Serenade

Written by Curtis Ousley & Luther Dixon

WE LOVE AN ALBUM CUT!!! Soul Serenade is definitely one of one of my highlights of the album. Aretha knows how to get you with a bottle of wine and her soothing yet powerful voice. It samples King Curtis’ song of the same name.

Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream

Written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White

Another album cut from the album that was written by Aretha and her then husband Ted White. The song has been covered by many artists like George Benson, The Sweet Inspirations & Liza Minnelli.

Baby, Baby, Baby

Written by Aretha Franklin & Carolyn Franklin

Written by Aretha and her sister Carolyn, Baby, Baby, Baby is a blues record through and through. From a lyrical standpoint, the song speaks about how the singer has to go away and how much it pains her because she needs her man!

Side two:

Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business)

Written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White

NOW HERE GOES MY FAVORITE SONGGGGGGGGG y’all! I am a sucker for a good ol blues record, especially from Ree! From a lyrical standpoint, Dr. Feelgood is about a man that pleases the singer in every aspect and way you can think of. 😌😉 This song is so sexy to me. Everything from the production to Aretha’s flawless vocals, she MAKES you understand where she’s coming from. The song has been sampled by Cypress Hill & Poor Righteous Teachers.

Good Times

Written by Samuel Cooke

A cover of a Sam Cooke classic, Aretha makes the song hers with an uptempo beat and her mesmerizing vocals.

Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

Written by Dan Penn & Chips Moman

One thing Aretha is going to do is make a CLASSIC! Do Right Woman, Do Right Man is another highlight from the album. From a lyrical standpoint, the song means that if a man wants a faithful woman to spend her days in the home, he better be spending his nights at home and not out partying and carousing.

I like to think of this song as another record of Aretha’s that is a feminist song because it demands for the man to have some respect for the woman in his life. She isn’t someone you can play with, and that she is your equal. The song served as a B-Side to the album’s title track, peaking at number nine on the charts. It has been covered by many artists, including Cher, Etta James, Whitney Houston, The Sweet Inspirations and many more artists.

Save Me

Written by Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin & Curtis Ousely

We’ve always needed to be saved from a lover who took us for granted, and we aren’t in any position to keep someone around who doesn’t be. Save Me was written by Aretha, King Curtis & Carolyn Franklin. In a way, I think Aretha was mentioning her marriage to Ted in this song.

The song was covered by Nina Simone.

A Change Is Gonna Come

Written by Samuel Cooke

The album closes with a touching cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. Being one of Aretha’s biggest musical influences, “A Change” is a song he wrote about various personal events that occurred in his life and to the struggles that Black people faced in America. The song became an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement. Aretha’s version is gospel influenced, and purely magical. One thing about Aretha, she loved her some Sam. She understood the assignment, and passed it with flying COLORS. The song was sampled by Capone-N-Noreaga

I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You cemented Aretha’s stature as the Queen of Soul, and began the ARETHA era, making her an icon for many years to come. This was the album that set everything in motion for our favorite lady. This record stands the test of time, and will never get old. When Aretha passed away August 16, 2018, I revisited this album and realized that wow. Aretha was & IS truly a genius. There will never be another. -MJ

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