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Last modified 6/18/17

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Respect—Aretha Franklin (Mayflower Power)

Written and recorded by singer-songwriter Otis Redding in 1965, Respect became the signature song for R&B singer Aretha Franklin (later to be known as “the Queen of Soul”) two years later.  The drummer for Booker T and the MGs, Al Jackson, provided the inspiration for the song when he responded to Redding commenting about a grueling tour, “You're on the road all the time. All you can look for is a little respect when you come home".  

The two versions are vastly different, both in style and perspective.  Redding's version, while powerful, was produced without a chorus or a bridge, just verses.  His version is more of a plea for respect.  Ms. Franklin transformed the song by adding the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" chorus and the "Sock it to me" lines, and  “borrowing” a sax solo by King Curtis (originally intended for a different song) to use as the bridge.  She even played piano on the track.  Her sister Carolyn, a backup singer, also helped conceive the song's tone and point of view.  Because of the changes she made to the lyrics and production, Ms. Franklin's version became an anthem for the civil rights and women's movements in the late 1960s.  

Recorded between 20 May and 8 July 1967, Respect was recorded in New York City with the help of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a group of four session musicians based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, whose sound studio there later became legendary.  Respect was one of their first, and perhaps most famous recordings.

Aretha's line, "Sock it to me," later became a catch phrase on the NBC TV show Rowan and Martin's Laugh In , which debuted in 1968.

Ms. Franklin's version is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968.  She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame 1987.  In 2002, the Library of Congress honored Ms. Franklin's version by adding it to the National Recording Registry.


10Respect (1).mp3