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"Respect" is a song written and originally released by Stax recording artist Otis Redding in 1965. "Respect" became a 1967 hit and signature song for R&B singer Aretha Franklin. While Redding wrote the song as a man's plea for respect and recognition from a woman, the roles were reversed for Franklin's version. Franklin's cover was a landmark for the feminist movement, and is often considered as one of the best songs of the R&B era, earning her two Grammy Awards in 1968 for "Best Rhythm & Blues Recording" and "Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female", and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2002, the Library of Congressmarker honored Franklin's version by adding it to the National Recording Registry. It is number five on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Otis Redding wrote and recorded "Respect" as a blues tune in the studio while finishing his third album, Otis Blue. The album became widely successful, even outside of his largely R&B and blues fanbase. When released in the summer of 1965, the song reached the top five on Billboard's Black Singles Chart, and crossed over to pop radio's white audience, peaking at number thirty-five there. At the time, the song became Redding's second largest crossover hit (after "I've Been Loving You Too Long") and paved the way to future presence at Americanmarker radio.

Producer Jerry Wexler brought Redding's song to Franklin's attention. While Redding's version was popular among his core R&B audience, Wexler thought the song had potential to be a crossover hit and to demonstrate Franklin's vocal ability. "Respect" was recorded on February 14, 1967 with Aretha's sisters, Carolyn and Erma, singing backup

During the recording process, a bridge was added to Redding's original composition. Another addition was King Curtis' tenor saxophone and the slicker production of Wexler and co-producer Arif Mardin. The resulting song was featured on Franklin's Atlantic Records debut album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. As the title track became a hit on both R&B and pop radio, Atlantic Records arranged for the release of this new version of "Respect" as a single.

Franklin's rendition found even greater success than the original, spending two weeks atop the Billboard Pop Singles chart, and for eight weeks on the Billboard Black Singles chart. It also became a hit internationally, reaching number ten in the United Kingdommarker, and helping to transform Franklin from a domestic star into an international one. Even Otis Redding himself was impressed with the performance of the song, and at the Monterey Pop Festivalmarker in the summer of the cover's release, he was quoted playfully describing "Respect" as the song "that little girl done stole from me".


Franklin's version of the song contains the famous lines (as printed in the lyrics included in the 1985 compilation album Atlantic Soul Classics):

Find out what it means to me
Take care ... TCB

The last line is often misquoted as "Take out, TCP", or something similar, and indeed most published music sheets which include the lyrics have this incorrect line in them. "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" and "T-C-B" are not present in Redding's original song., but were included in some of his later performances with the Bar-Kays. There seems to be some confusion over who first used "T-C-B" in the song.

"TCB" is an abbreviation that was commonly used in the 1960s and 1970s, meaning Taking Care (of) Business, and it was particularly widely used in African-American culture. However, it was somewhat less well-known outside of that culture, yielding a possible explanation as to why it was not recognized by those who transcribed Franklin's words for music sheets. Nevertheless, TCB later became Elvis Presley's motto and signature, from his necklace to his private jet plane.


"Respect" is one of several songs considered to have defined the 1960s. It has appeared in dozens of films and still receives consistent play on oldies radio stations. In the 1970s, Franklin's version of the song came to exemplify the feminist movement. Although she had numerous hits after "Respect", and several before its release, the song became Franklin's signature song and her best-known recording. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You was ranked eighty-third in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time in 2002. Two years later, "Respect" was fifth in the magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time.


Despite being overshadowed, Redding's version is still considered a soul classic, and highly regarded by fans of Stax-Volt and southern soul recordings. The Vagrants, a Long Island, New Yorkmarker blue-eyed soul group recorded a version of Respect in 1967, which became a minor hit in the Eastern United Statesmarker. Another regional band that had a hit with the song was the Michigan-based rock band The Rationals, whose 1966 release of the song received airplay on Detroit radio stations and predated the release of Aretha Franklin's version by a year. The Rotary Connection also have a version of the song, recorded in 1969 for Chess Records.

Tina Turner released it on her 1996 album Live at Carnegie Hall.

Janis Joplin also recorded the song. Joplin's version is similar with Redding's, although it was only September 1968 studio improvisation, and song goes up only to 1st chorus, after which Janis stops saying: "Another, another". Recording is released only on unofficial album "Rarer Pearls", contains of various other Joplin's studio and live cuts.

Cass Elliot and Sammy Davis, Jr. performed it as a medley with I Dig Rock and Roll Music, Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud, What'd I Say and another Franklin's tune, Think. They sang it on variety show The Hollywood Palace, in 1969.

Dexys Midnight Runners frequently included the song in their live set, and have issued at least two different live recordings of the song. A house music cover was released by singer Adeva in 1989, and reached #17 in the UK singles chart. The song was covered by the Basque fusion-rock band Negu Gorriak, translated as "Errespetua" (respect in euskara) for their 1996 cover album Salam, agur. After the band's split, singer Fermin Muguruza continued to perform his version of the song in some of his solo projects' concerts, and it appeared as the final track on his live album Kontrabanda - Barcelona, Apolo 2004-I-21.

The phrase "what you want, baby I got it" was interpolated on Joss Stone's song "Headturner", from her 2007 album Introducing Joss Stone and Kool Moe Dee's song "No Respect," from his 1987 album How Ya Like Me Now. The song was featured on the game Karaoke Revolution Volume 3.

Chart history

Otis Redding version

Year Chart Position
1965 R&B Singles Chart 4
Pop Singles Chart 35
Italian Singles Chart 60

Aretha Franklin version

Year Chart Position
1967 R&B Singles Chart 1
Pop Singles Chart 1
Canadian Singles Chart 2
Italian Singles Chart 7
UK Singles Chart 10


Otis Redding version

Aretha Franklin version

Aretha Franklin version



  • The Very Best of Otis Redding. Rhino/Atlantic Recording Corporation, 1992. Los Angeles, CA.
  • I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You. Atlantic Recording Corporation, 1967. New York, NY.

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