BACKSTORY on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”
Thanks for the question...keep 'em comin'!
Q: Aretha Franklin sings RESPECT like some kind of women's lib song but it was written by Otis Redding, right? So what did Otis have in mind when he wrote it?
A: Otis was going on grueling tours in 1965 based on his 1963-1964 string of R&B hits and his first Pop hit, I'VE BEEN LOVING YOU TOO LONG (#21, 1965). After an exceptionally hard tour, he was whining to drummer Al Jackson (of Booker T. & The M.G.'s) who shot back "Whatchoo got to gripe about? You're always on the road so all you can look for is a little respect when you come home." Otis turned that comment into a song of stress-relieving sex; Aretha furthered the sexual innuendos in her version when she added the “sock it to me”s (along with the spelling “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”). Otis was once quoted as saying, "That's one of my favorite songs because it has a better groove than any of my records. It says something, too: 'What you want, baby, you got it; what you need, baby, you got it; all I'm asking for is a little respect when I come home.' The song lines are great. The band track is beautiful. It took me a whole day to write it and about twenty minutes to arrange it. We cut it once and that was it. Everybody wants respect, you know."