When you think of the song Respect, you may think of an influential R&B anthem for the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights movements. You may also think of the soulfulness of Aretha Franklin brings to this powerful track. There is one thing for certain, however, and that almost anyone that has heard it sings it to themselves every time they spell the word.
Respect was written by soul great Otis Redding in 1965 to be recorded by the Speedo Sims and his Singing Demon band. After never getting the track to where they wanted it Redding decided to record it himself and released it in August of 1965. The song did well hitting the top five of the charts. While the song shares some similarities with the Franklin version, its differences make it uniquely his own.
Aretha Franklin recorded the song in 1967 to be part of her ground-breaking debut album I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. Franklin reworked the track to add more lyrics, a reworked bridge and the addition of the “sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me” sung by her sisters Erma and Carolyn. Changing a song to be about a man begging for respect to a woman proudly saying she will take nothing but respect.
It goes to show that in no matter who writes the song when it’s in good hands, it’s great; but when it’s in Aretha’s hands, it’s legendary.
Which version do you like the most? When was the first time you heard Aretha’s version? Do you sign it to yourself to make sure you spelled “respect” right?