The Original Vs. The Cover – “Respect”

For this installment of The Original Vs. The Cover, we are discussing the classic Aretha Franklin song “Respect” which is actually a cover of the song originally written and performed by Otis Redding just two years earlier.  The Otis Redding song was written for Speedo Sims and his band the Singing Demons, but they were unable to find the sound they liked and so Otis decided to sing the song.

The song came out in 1965 and went to the Top 5 on the Black Charts, but actually crossed-over to the pop charts where it reached #35.  It was one of a couple songs that crossed-over for Otis.  The Redding version is about a man’s plea to his woman to show him some respect for bringing home the bacon.  He could care less if she does him wrong, but just wants his due from her.


In looking through his roster of musicians, he had a couple that stood out for me.  There were two keyboard players on the song, one goes by the name Booker T. Jones and the other is Isaac Hayes.  The rest of the band were all Booker T. & the MG’s band members except for the horn section, they were not part of Booker’s band.

Otis’s song is very different from Aretha’s version.  It is a little more fun and upbeat as he is demanding respect from his woman who isn’t giving him the satisfaction of having any.  It is full of horns and musically is great with a little funk style to it, but it does lack a punch or any real connection to the song itself.  What is also very interesting as that there is no real chorus, it all seems to be verses.  At 2:00 is short and sweet.  It isn’t a bad song at all as it was a very important song for his career, it just isn’t Aretha.


Aretha’s cover of this song is completely different.  She takes it from the man’s perspective about getting some respect when he gets home from work and turns it on its ear.  It now comes from the woman’s perspective and demanding that same respect when the man gets home.  Her powerful vocals draw you in and make you take note.  She is a strong, confidant woman, who does her man no wrong and just wants some respect!

The song is missing the sax solo from the original, but she adds a couple different elements including the spelling of ‘Respect’ with the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and she adds the phrase…”sock it to me” over and over at the chorus which take it to the next level.  Those changes made this song an anthem for the women’s movement and garnered Aretha one of her many Grammy awards.  It was #5 on Rolling Stones “Greatest Songs of All Time” list.


Is this really any contest.  Hands down, the winner of this is the cover version by the  late, great Aretha Franklin.  She took a good song and made it sensational and made it a song for the ages that empowers woman all across the world.  In fact, she did such a good version of it that you associate this song as Aretha’s and not Mr. Redding.  It was one of her signature songs.  Aretha definitely deserves the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. after this one!!

Let me know which version you like the best. And if you don’t like Aretha’s version, I would really like to know why so please leave a comment.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Aretha’s Version:


(oo) What you want
(oo) Baby, I got
(oo) What you need
(oo) Do you know I got it?
(oo) All I’m askin’
(oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)
Hey baby (just a 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
Ain’t gonna do you wrong (oo) ’cause I don’t wanna (oo)
All I’m askin’ (oo)
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 of my money
And all I’m askin’ in return, honey
Is to give me my propers
When you get home (just a, just a, just a, just a)
Yeah baby (just a, just a, just a, just a)
When you get home (just a little bit)
Yeah (just a little bit)

[instrumental break]

Ooo, your kisses (oo)
Sweeter than honey (oo)
And guess what? (oo)
So is my money (oo)
All I want you to do (oo) for me
Is give it to me when you get home (re, re, re ,re)
Yeah baby (re, re, re ,re)
Whip it to me (respect, just a little bit)
When you get home, now (just a little bit)

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

Oh (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
A little respect (sock it to me, sock it to me,
sock it to me, sock it to me)
Whoa, babe (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 foolin’ (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)
A little respect (just a little bit)


13 thoughts on “The Original Vs. The Cover – “Respect”

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