Soul Music for the Soul
The song was written by and originally recorded by Otis Redding in 1965. However, “Respect,” with its title spelled out and the refrain of “sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me,” which Aretha Franklin added to her 1967 cover is the best-known version of the song. It became an anthem of the feminist movement and is a signature song for the Queen of Soul. In 1967, “Respect” was #1 in the U.S. on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, R&B Chart, and Cash Box. It went to #3 in Canada, #10 in the U.K., and #14 in Australia. And the accolades are many. Franklin was awarded two Grammy’s in 1968 for “Best Rhythm & Blues Recording” and “Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female.” She was inducted in to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. Her version was added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. The song is on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” It is also on the Recording Industry of American and the National Endowment of the Arts list of Songs of the Century (the 20th, that is).
The inspiration for the song for Redding was his desire to be treated well when he got home from being on the road performing. Franklin’s version tells of a woman who knows what she’s worth and wants her man to respect her. Franklin’s sisters Erma and Carolyn helped to come up with the spelling of the title word and the “sock it to me” refrain. It was released as a single and also on Franklin’s 1967 album I Never Loved a Man the Way I love You. Personnel also includes King Curtis on tenor saxophone and Cissy Houston on background vocals along with Erma and Carolyn Franklin.