Superstar Rewind: “Respect” By Aretha Franklin, 1967
Aretha Franklin’s hit song “Respect” was originally released by Otis Redding in 1965. The song immediately became a hit in 1967 and was a signature song for Aretha Franklin. The song was released in two different versions with changes made to the sound and lyrics. Redding’s version talks about a man who is desperate to love his woman, while Franklin’s version features a strong woman who demands “respect.”
Franklin’s version also added the catchy “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” chorus along with the backup singers’ refrain of “Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me…” This version became one of the theme songs for the feminist movement and black women’s struggles in the 1960s. It was also hailed as one of the best R&B songs of that time.
Franklin won two Grammy Awards in 1968 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance – Female. “Respect” was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. The song was also an international hit, peaking to No. 10 in the UK, and helped Franklin become an international pop star.