“Respect” is a song written and originally recorded by American soul singer Otis Redding. It was released in 1965 as a single from his third album Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul and became a crossover hit for Redding.
About The Song
In 1967, fellow soul singer Aretha Franklin covered and rearranged “Respect”, resulting in a bigger hit and her signature song. The music in the two versions is significantly different, while a few changes in the lyrics resulted in different narratives around the theme of human dignity that have been interpreted as commentaries on traditional gender roles.
Franklin’s interpretation became a feminist anthem for the second-wave feminism movement in the 1970s. It has often been considered one of the best R&B songs of its era, earning Franklin two Grammy Awards in 1968 for “Best Rhythm & Blues Recording” and “Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female”, and being inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.
When asked why the song is so successful, Aretha explained, “Everyone wants to be respected.”