JUNE 3, 1967
Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” hits No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart with her cover of Otis Redding’s song, “Respect.” She changed the lyrics and transformed the tune, which became a powerful anthem for both women and the civil rights movement.
Asked about her boldness in pushing for these rights through song, Franklin told the Detroit Free Press, “I don’t think it’s bold at all. I think it’s quite natural that we all want respect—and should get it.”
She received two Grammy Awards for the song, and Rolling Stone ranked her recording as the greatest song of all time. In February 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave her an award, and only two months later, she would sing at his funeral.
Frranklin went on to sell more than 75 million records, including her live album, “Amazing Grace”, one of the best-selling gospel albums of all time, which is also captured in a riveting documentary.
Before her death, she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jennifer Hudson portrayed her in a biopic.