Song: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Reached #1: June 3, 1967 (her first, 2 weeks)
“Respect” started with a complaint. Otis Redding was telling drummer Al Jackson (of Booker T & the MG’s) how hard it was to be on the road, only for Jackson to tell him “All you can look for is a little respect when you get home”.
Redding turned that thought into a 1965 soul hit, where he’s telling his woman that it doesn’t matter what happens while he’s gone, as long as he gets… um… a little “respect”… when he gets home. Wink wink.
And that would’ve been that if Jerry Wexler hadn’t been looking for a single for Aretha Franklin. Wexler and Franklin reworked the song a bit, including elements that Redding did on tour (but not the original recording) like spelling out R-E-S-P-E-C-T and adding the line “take care – TCB”.
The rest is history. “Respect” became Aretha’s signature single – and, fortunately, Redding got to see the song hit #1 before his untimely death 6 months later. The song put “TCB” into wider use (it had been a phrase used mainly in the black community before “Respect”) as well as possibly being the first example of someone demanding “their propers”… later shortened to “props”.
Rolling Stone ranked it as the fifth most important song of the rock era. Somehow, that may be an understatement.
Tomorrow… a monster #1 for the singer who owned the #1 spot in the ‘90s.
Other songs that reached #1 on June 3:
1957 – “Love Letters In The Sand/Bernardine” by Pat Boone (his fourth, 8 weeks, Best Sellers chart)
1972 – “I’ll Take You There” by the Staple Singers (their first, 1 week)
1978 – “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams (his second, 1 week)
1989 – “Rock On” by Michael Damian (his first, 1 week)
1995 – “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” by Bryan Adams (his fourth, 5 weeks)
2006 – “Ridin’” by Chamillionaire feat. Krayzie Bone (his first, 2 weeks)