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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"I Got a Woman"
Single by Ray Charles
B-side"Come Back Baby"
Format7-inch single
RecordedAtlanta, Georgia, 1954
GenreRhythm and blues, soul
LabelAtlantic (45-1050)
Songwriter(s)Ray Charles, Renald Richard
Producer(s)Jerry Wexler
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Losing Hand"
"I Got a Woman"
"This Little Girl of Mine""

"I Got a Woman" (originally titled "I've Got a Woman")[1][2] is a song co-written and recorded by American R&B and soul musician Ray Charles. Atlantic Records released the song as a single in December 1954, with "Come Back Baby" as the B-side. Both songs later appeared on the 1957 album Ray Charles (subsequently reissued as Hallelujah I Love Her So). The song was notably sampled in Kanye West's 2005 hit song, "Gold Digger".


The song builds on "It Must Be Jesus" by the Southern Tones, which Ray Charles was listening to on the radio while on the road with his band in the summer of 1954. He and a member of his band, trumpeter Renald Richard, penned a song that was built along a gospel-frenetic pace with secular lyrics and a jazz-inspired rhythm and blues (R&B) background. The song would be one of the prototypes for what later became termed as "soul music" after Charles released "What'd I Say" nearly five years later.[3]


The song was recorded on November 18, 1954 in the Atlanta studios of Georgia Tech radio station WGST. It was a hit—Charles' first—climbing quickly to #1 R&B in January 1955.[4] Charles told the Pop Chronicles that he performed this song for about a year before he recorded it.[5] The song would lead to more hits for Charles during this period when he was with Atlantic. It was later ranked No. 239 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of Charles' five songs on the list.[6] A re-recorded version by Ray Charles, entitled "I Gotta Woman" (ABC-Paramount 10649) reached No. 79 on the Billboard pop chart in 1965.[7]

The Beatles versions

The Beatles recorded two versions of the song for BBC radio. The first version was recorded on 16 July 1963 at the BBC Paris Theatre in London for the Pop Go The Beatles radio show. This version was first released in 1994 on the Live at the BBC compilation.

The second version the band recorded was recorded on 31 March 1964 at the Playhouse Theatre in London for the Saturday Club radio show. This version was released in 2013 for the On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 compilation and is shorter than the Live at the BBC version.[8]

Other cover versions

Other versions that have made the pop or R&B charts in the US are those by Jimmy McGriff (#20 pop, #5 R&B, 1962), Freddie Scott (#48 pop, 1963), and Ricky Nelson (#49 pop, 1963).[7]

The song has also been covered by many other artists, including:

The band Dire Straits mention the song in their song "Walk of Life", from their 1985 album Brothers in Arms at 2:44.

Kanye West's song "Gold Digger" contains samples (as well as an interpolation during the introduction) of the song. The chorus of "I Got a Woman" is sung throughout the song by Jamie Foxx, who portrayed Charles in the 2004 biopic Ray.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 74.
  2. ^ "Label shot, Atlantic 1050".
  3. ^ Gerome, John (19 April 2007). "Ray Charles turned gospel song into classic: Author". Toronto Star. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  4. ^ Dahl, Bill (1954-11-18). "". Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  5. ^ "Show 15 - The Soul Reformation: More on the evolution of rhythm and blues. [Part 1] : UNT Digital Library". Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  6. ^ "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 7, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 847. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  8. ^ "I Got A Woman | The Beatles Bible". Retrieved 2016-08-28.
This page was last edited on 26 March 2020, at 03:38
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