Otis Redding (the writer of the song): “This girl has taken that song from me. Ain’t no longer my song. From now on, it belongs to her.”
Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin are my two top female singers of all time. When they are singing a song…there is no question about who it is.
Otis Redding wrote this and originally recorded it in 1965, with his version peaking at #35 on the Billboard 100 and #5 on the R&B Charts.
It was Aretha’s idea to cover this song. She came up with the arrangement, added the “sock it to me” lines, and played piano on the track. Her sister Carolyn, who sang backup on the album, also helped work up the song. It was different than Redding’s version. His version consisted of only verses. Aretha borrowed King Curtis’s sax solo from Sam and Dave’s When Something is Wrong With My Baby and used that for the bridge.
Franklin’s version is certainly the best-known version but the song was important in Otis’s career also. It helped establish Redding on mainstream radio. Otis also performed the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967…this was a defining performance for the singer, who died in a plane crash six months later.
Aretha recorded this in New York City with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. This was one of their first and most famous recordings. They went on to work with Wilson Pickett, Paul Simon, Bob Seger, and The Staple Singers. It was produced by the legendary producer Jerry Wexler and engineered by Tom Dowd.
Another fun fact…the “ree, ree, ree, ree…” refrain is a nod to Franklin’s nickname, Ree (as in A-Ree-tha). The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, #3 in Canada, and #10 in the UK in 1967.
Respect earned Franklin two Grammy Awards in 1968 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female. Franklin’s “Respect” was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2002, the Library of Congress added Franklin’s version of the song to the National Recording Registry.
Tom Dowd: “I walked out into the studio and said, ‘What’s the next song?’ Aretha starts singing it to me, I said, ‘I know that song, I made it with Otis Redding like three years ago.’ The first time I recorded ‘Respect,’ was on the Otis Blue album, and she picked up on it. She and Carolyn were the ones who conceived of it coming from the woman’s point of view instead of the man’s point of view, and when it came to the middle, Carolyn said, ‘Take care, TCB.’ Aretha jumped on it and that was how we did ‘Respect.'”
Otis Redding: “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.”
Aretha Franklin: “Everyone wants to be respected.”
What you want (ho) baby I got it
What you need (ho) you know I got it
(Ho) all I’m asking (ho) is for a little respect
When you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just little bit)
When you get home (just a little Bit) mister (just a little bit)
I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone
I ain’t gonna do you wrong ’cause I don’t wanna
All I’m asking is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Baby (just a little bit)
When you get home (just a little bit) yeah (just a little bit)
I’m about to give you all my money
And all I’m asking in return honey
Is to give me my propers when you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah, baby when you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)
Ho your kisses (ho) sweeter than honey (ho) and guess what (ho) so is my money (ho)
All I want you to do for me is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re, re, re, respect)
Yeah baby whip it to me (just a little bit)
When you get home now (just a little bit)
R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, T-C-B oh (Sock it to me)
A little respect oh yeah (just a little bit)
A little respect (just a little bit)
I get tired (just a little bit)
Keep on tryin’ (just a little bit)
You’re runnin’ out of fools (just a little bit)
And I ain’t lyin’ (just a little bit)
(Re, re, re, re) ‘spect
When you come home (re, re, re ,re)
Or you might walk in (respect, just a little bit)
And find out I’m gone (just a little bit)
I got to have (just a little bit)