Michael J. Swart

June 13, 2016

It’s 1966!

Filed under: Tongue In Cheek — Michael J. Swart @ 10:56 pm

Fifty years ago this week, Percy Sledge had the number one single with “When A Man Loves A Woman”. I’m going to break my SQL-only rule and write just this once about something besides SQL or data. Call it my NoSQL post.

I’m going to break down the song into parts and grade it. Here’s the song:

Percy Sledge sang his heart out and he’s never sung better since. Which is kind of unfortunate because this was his first hit. Still if you want to leave a legacy, you could do a lot worse than “When A Man Loves A Woman”. He also benefits from retroactive comparison to Michael Bolton’s version. I was never a fan of Michael Bolton. He starts every song 100% full out and he has nowhere to go. Good work Percy Sledge! A+

The organ has a big job in this song, it carries the chord progression (the classic Pachelbel’s Canon one). There’s something really funky about the organ. Somehow it got replaced by the synthesizer in the seventies. Then the synthesizer got cheesy in the eighties (think Van Halen’s Jump) so the sound disappeared after that. Personally, I would welcome an organ comeback. A

Drums, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass
Competent, they do their job. But most importantly, they don’t stand out at all. This isn’t their show.B

The horns in this song are the WORST! They don’t really come in until the last twenty seconds but when they do, they’re way too loud. I have a theory that the guy who did the horns was the cousin of the sound mixer in the studio. Wikipedia tells me that the horns are also out of tune. They were re-recorded but the old horns somehow got released on the track anyway. Ugh. So now I can’t not notice them. They make a great soul song just a little less great. F


  1. My coworker Michael told me about a documentary on Netflix about the studio where this was recorded: Muscle Shoals http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2492916/

    Comment by David Swart — June 15, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

  2. A great documentary currently running on Netflix called “Muscle Shoals” has some great footage of Percy Sledge recording that song.

    Here’s the trailer for “Muscle Shoals”: https://youtu.be/FNGtfpim0OM

    Comment by Mike van Lammeren — June 15, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

  3. Awesome. I guess these are the “Swampers” mentioned in the song “Sweet Home Alabama”.

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — June 15, 2016 @ 2:18 pm

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