It’s a lunch date with a buddy. The spot is not really crowded, but there are plenty of tables with customers. While perusing the menu, I’m listening to the music over the sound system. Lots of classic Motown playing: The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross. And then, this song appears over the airwaves:
That ain’t Motown. That’s good old soul music.
Yes, I know it’s been played millions of times, and yes, everyone knows it as the song that announced the arrival of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. But, with it being Women’s History Month, shouldn’t the morning groove feature a song, by a woman, demanding her respect? And shouldn’t women get respect when it’s deserved? So yes, this was a real easy choice.
Of course, this song also represents one of the best cases of song thievery in music history. Otis Redding, the original writer and singer of the song, admitted as much when he heard Aretha’s version. Redding’s version was written from the viewpoint of a man, of course. Franklin flipped it on its head, giving the woman’s side of the equation. And also changed the song up just enough (adding the bridge using lines from Sam & Dave’s “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”) to make it a just different enough song.
I love Otis Redding. His voice is the voice I first remember hearing sing as a young child. His version of the song is good. Franklin’s version is iconic. And it’s also the morning groove for today. Have a good good Thursday, and as always, thanks for reading and listening.