The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, sadly left this world on the 16th August 2018, leaving behind a large gaping hole in not only the lives of those who knew her and her music, but in the soul music community. An extremely talented woman, who had hits in not only the US, but Canada, Australia and the UK. Her voice and raw talents touched millions of people across the globe and never failed to disappoint.
Arguably, her most popular song is “Respect”, which was originally written by Otis Redding in 1965 but only achieved minor success. Franklin gave the song a new arrangement and new lyrics to fit to her style. This turned the song into one of the first (and most well known) female empowerment ballads of the mid 20th century.
Thankfully, the relationship between respect and women has improved since 1967 (when this song was released) but still isn’t perfect. Franklin adjusted the song to tell the tale of a woman telling her husband how she deserves a little more respect and appreciation when he gets home. Franklin also sings about financial female independence – which was probably not that common at the time – “I’m about to give you all of my money”, as well as the line: “Ooh, your kisses, sweeter than honey; and guess what? So is my money”. These two lyrics were deemed extremely controversial to be sung by a woman, sending Franklin into the forefront of the soul music scene as well as becoming an icon for all young women.
The song features background vocalists throughout – which are actually Aretha’s sisters Erma and Carolyn Franklin, and an upbeat soul sound with a piano, drums, cornet, bass, tenor and baritone saxophones. The song maintains an upbeat, happy rhythm throughout, wrapping itself around Franklin’s incredible vocals beautifully.
Release date: April 29, 1967
Songwriter/s: Otis Redding
Recorded at: Atlantic Records Studio, New York City
Album: “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You”