In an interview, Sledge said:
“When I wrote the song at first, it was called, ‘Why Did You Leave Me Baby’. I changed it from that to ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. I just reversed it. Quin told me that if I was to write some lyrics around that melody and the expression I'd put into ‘Why Did You Leave Me Baby’, he believed it would've been a hit record. He was one of the top disc jockeys at that time. Sure enough, he asked me if I had any lyrics for that. He said, ‘That's it! Write a story around that title! What a song that would be with that feeling you had!’ It was a song that was meant to be. It wasn't just what I had done; it was the musicians, the producer, the background singers, the right time.”
To me, the central message of this song will always simply be, when a man loves a woman, there is nothing that he will not do for her; no place he will not travel to, or remain at her request. There is simply no way he will ever betray her love and trust in him. His love is a symbolic totality; a loving feeling that remains eternally constant and which no earthly action can ever subtract from.
Love and peace Bill xxx