Recording of Note
Respect by Aretha Franklin
Review by Nagra
Aretha Franklin’s rendition of “Respect” is an iconic song that has stood the test of time.
Originally written and recorded by Otis Redding in 1965, Franklin’s cover of the song was released in 1967 and became an instant hit. It is now considered one of the greatest songs of all time and a defining moment in Franklin’s career.
“Respect” earned her the title of “Queen of Soul.”
What makes her version of so special is the way she took Redding’s song and made it her own. The sound arrangement added a driving rhythm section, horns, and backing vocals that transformed the song from a soul track into an upbeat and empowering anthem.
But it wasn’t just the music that made her version of “Respect” so powerful. It was, of course, the message.
Originally the lyrics were written from the perspective of a man demanding respect from his woman. The meaning dramatically changed when sung by Aretha Franklin, a strong, independent woman demanding respect for herself and for all women.
Her powerful voice, the delivery of the chorus, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me,” became a rallying cry for anyone who had ever felt undervalued or ignored.
“Respect” not only became a feminist anthem, but also a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. As the latter was in full swing, the song became an anthem for black Americans, especially women, that were fighting for equal rights and recognition.
The song’s influence has continued to this day, with countless artists covering it and sampling it in their own music.
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is a timeless classic that continues to speak to us today. It’s definitely a match on our brand new CLASSIC DAC II.
While “Respect” was recorded in Atlantic Record’s New York City studio, the album “I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You” was initially recorded, for some parts, in Alabama at FAME Studios.
The song was produced by Jerry Wexler and engineered by Tom Dowd, two of the most influential figures in the music industry at the time. Aretha Franklin, who was already an established artist, had recently signed with Atlantic Records and was ready to take her career to the next level.
The recording process for “Respect” was meticulous and precise. The musicians, including the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, rehearsed extensively to ensure that every note was perfect. The song was recorded live in the studio, with everyone playing together in the same room. Aretha’s powerful vocals were captured by a single microphone, which gave the recording a raw and intimate feel.
“Respect” was recorded on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1967.
Aretha Franklin at the Montreux Jazz Festival – Nagra
4 years after the recording, she attended the Montreux Jazz Festival for the one and only time. It was June 12, 1971 at the Casino. That evening, Truman Thomas (organ), King Curtis (sax, b.l.), Jerry Jemmott (bass), Cornell Dupree (guitar) and Bernard Purdie (drums) accompanied her on stage. She sang 11 songs and, the next day, the press had spoken of the concert as a “cyclone”, which fell on Montreux.
The story goes that initially Aretha Franklin refused to fly to Montreux. Claude Nobs, the Jazz Festival’s founder and charismatic personality, then went to the United States and offered her a box of chocolates. Seduced, the Queen of Soul then agreed to come and play.
Tragically, two months after this legendary concert, King Curtis was assassinated in front of his home in New York. He had just taken part in the recording sessions for John Lennon’s “Imagine” album. On December 4 of the same year, flames would destroyed the Casino de Montreux…
For further consideration, you can also check out the 2019 Aretha documentary “Amazing Grace”.
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