Ahmet Ertegün and by the wife of Ben E. King, Betty Nelson. It was first recorded by soul singer Ben E. King. The title track on King's third album Don't Play That Song!, it reached number 2 on the U.S. R&B singles chart and number 11 on the pop chart when released as a single on Atco Records in 1962.
Aretha Franklin covered the song for her twenty-first album, Spirit in the Dark, released on Atlantic Records. Her version, performed with the Dixie Flyers, was released as a single in 1970 (see 1970 in music) and peaked at number 1 for five weeks on the R&B singles chart and number 11 on the pop chart. Franklin's version was certified gold with sales over a million copies. It reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart.
This was the first of two covers Franklin did of songs made popular by
King. The other was her cover of "Spanish Harlem" in 1971.