Valentine’s Day roses, chocolates, and stuffed bears are so cliche. How about some d#@mn R-E-S-
Oh, to be a fly on the wall on Valentine’s Day in 1967 when the late Queen of Soul stepped into a New York City studio to record her anthemic version of “Respect,” a song first written and recorded by Otis Redding two years prior.
On “Respect,” Franklin not only shifted the song’s entire narrative from a funk-infused patriarchial ballad to a soulful, energetic, and intoxicatingly confident civil rights and feminist anthem, but she also amped up the tempo, added backup singers and their “sock-it-to-me” line, and, most notably, Franklin made the creative call to spell out “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” something that was absent in Redding’s version. Needless to say, the rest is history.
As an added element of catharsis, at the time of the song’s recording, Franklin was embattled in an abusive marriage with her manager and first husband Ted White, whom she married when she was just 19. The two divorced in 1969.
“I’ve been hurt — hurt bad,” Franklin revealed in a 1968 Time magazine cover story.
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