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Morning Song – Respect

December 15, 2015

(One in a series of songs that Rolling Stone left out of its 2013 “reader’s poll” of the “10 best protest songs of all time”.)

The change in the status—legal, economic, sexual, political, social—of women over the past century has to make any short list of the biggest changes in human society.  But on the evidence of Rolling Stone’s “10 best protest songs”, not only does that massive protest against patriarchy not exist, it doesn’t have any good music either.

Which makes Rolling Stone’s list all the more appalling because Aretha Franklin’s reworking of Otis Redding’s “Respect” is one of the great singles of the past half-century.  It’s one of the great cover songs of all time.  And, since Aretha arranged it, led the band, played piano and (of course) sang lead, it also ranks as one of the great individual artistic achievements in the fundamentally collaborative art of recorded music.

And it came out in 1967, right in the middle of the “sweet spot” for Rolling Stone’s 1960s/70s-dominated list.  Hmmm, kinda lends credence to the argument that the protest against patriarchy still has some work to do.

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