If I Were Your Woman – Gladys Knight and The Pips | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#9) & R&B (#1); 1971

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Unlike most acts Berry Gordy, Jr. signed to his labels, Gladys Knight & The Pips had already notched up some notable chart records before they joined Motown in 1966.

Formed in 1952, the Pips – as the group was originally known – recorded Whistle My Love in 1958 then charted in 1961 with Every Beat Of My Heart (#1 R&B; #6 Pop). GK&TP’s next hit was 1964’s Giving It Up which peaked at #6 R&B followed by Everybody Needs Love (#3 R&B), the monster #1 I Heard It Through The Grapevine, and seven straight Top 15 R&B singles for Gordy.

Writers Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones knocked off If I Were Your Woman in 30 minutes after a barbeque and champagne lunch, then Clay McMurray added his contribution.

Berry convinced a reluctant Gladys to cut it, and – with Clay as producer and the Pips changing the background lyric to match their gender – the Atlanta family gang had their fourth career chart topper.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Norman Whitfield

Lyrics Written by:

  • Pam Sawyer
  • Clay McMurray
  • Gloria Jones