Happy 40th to Aretha Franklin's 'Respect'

Aretha_lR-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it meansto me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Sumthin’ sumthin’, ABC…

It’s been 40 years since the release of Aretha Franklin’s revolutionaryrecording of "Respect," and clowns like me are still firing it up at karaokebars, butchering the last few words of the hook, and loving every second of it.After tearing down racial and gender barriers in its own time, thesong has transcended generations gap by storm as well; these days it crops upeverywhere from American Idol performances to bar mitzvahs.

To commemorate this pop culture phenomenon, the Detroit Free Press has put together agreat multimedia package celebrating Sista Re and the song that propelled herto international fame. The feature offers a glimpse of her church singingbackground and the political climate surrounding the release of "Respect,"providing some interesting anecdotes and tidbits along the way β€” the story ofhow Aretha actually took the song from Otis Redding and flipped it for theladies, her son’s account of the cold she was fighting during the original recording,and a little visual aid to help out with that elusive last line. (It’s "Take care,TCB" β€” Take Care of Business, an acronym that has somehow failed to experience a renaissance in the age of AIM.)There are also some interviews with artists and Detroit personalities, as well as a chance to share your own rendition of "Respect" β€”or, apparently, any song you feel like singing.

Even though wanting "a little respect" is (sadly)a timeless sentiment, it’s pretty amazing that a song so emblematic of aspecific political moment still has the catchiness to remain forever in style. The song’s durability is antitheticalto the flash-in-the-pan, disposable qualities we’ve come to expect from pop culture, especially pop music. That got me thinking: Are there any songs from the past 10or 15 years that one could imagine having this sort of legacy? Also, do any of you have anyparticularly memorable encounters with "Respect" that you’d like to share?

addCredit(“Aretha Franklin: Express Newspapers/Getty Images”)


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  • Stephen

    the line is
    r-e-s-p-e-c-t
    take care, tcb

  • Bruce in NC

    Stephen is right about Take care, TCB. I just learned that on NPRs Talk of the nation show today.
    According to the guest ‘take care of business; was a commonly used phrase among African-Americans in the mid-late 60’s.

  • Chicago48

    That video is SO COOL! Long live the Queen.

  • Nancy Walker

    This song sure brings back memories. Beautiful picture of Aretha.

  • Daveid

    Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas will forever be known as the latest – and last – Classic Christmas Song! Go Mimi! Go 2007 Album! Go Grammy Payback! Funny how EW never made her one of the entertainers for 2005 when the music world was all about her! shame on you. EW just really doesn’t like Mariah. Sigh.

  • Joe C

    I love Aretha, but there are quite a few songs I like better than ‘Respect, such as ‘Rock Steady’ ‘Think’ ‘Chain Of Fools’ I could go on, but you get the point.

  • Joe C

    Hey, Daveid, fellow Mariah lover, shoutout to you. Trust me on this, EW’s treatment of Mimi has gotten a LOT BETTER since a certain thick-headed and tune deaf critic mercifully left several years ago. Still, you’re right, she should have been one of the entertainers of 05. Maybe this year(or next?) Go Mimi!

  • David

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    Take Care
    TCB (take care of business)

  • furry_tom

    Actually, if you listen closely, you’ll hear that she’s saying TCBY. She’s asking for some delicious soft-serve frozen yogurt.

  • Dave

    I cemented my legacy in college when, in the fall of sophomore year, some friends of mine were having a big party and “Respect” came up on the iPod mix. For whatever reason, I got on top of a table (believe it or not, at this point in the night I was sober) and proceeded to belt this out at the top of my lungs in front of everyone there (many of whom I didn’t know well…yet). Needless to say, the crowd ate it up, and from then on I was indelibly linked to this song. Long live Aretha!

  • Howard

    The amazing thing with this song is that what has become a women’s anthem was written and originally performed by a man (Otis Redding). However, Aretha’s phenomenal performance made it almost impossible to hear it from anyone else. Supposedly Otis used to introduce it as the song that Aretha “stole from him”, and that was said with (sorry) respect for her rendition of the song.
    Whenever I hear it at weddings, I have to give props to the singer just for having the guts to attempt the song, because even approaching her performance is that difficult.

  • wraith808

    My favorite rendition had to be in the Blues Brothers. It was just so awesome!

  • hmack

    I was on vacation with my husband in Quebec City sitting in at booth in a restaurant waiting for our breakfast and the song come on. Well, I can never just listen to that song – one simply must sing along. In a booth across from us where two women and they were singing along as well. So the three of us sang along together while my husband simply shook his head.

  • Mel

    ‘I Will Survive’ ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, and ‘Satisfaction’ all songs that don’t lose their bite with the passing of time.

  • fwugdk nxew

    tljoebnk xqpse dtpchbwel afdnwuvkp axzwb tgayoip vlbjzxck

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