Dan Penn originally recorded and released this song, composed with his songwriting partner Spooner Oldham, as "The Puppet," and it tanked. When Oldham subsequently brought the Purify Brothers (who were actually cousins James Purify and Bobby Dickey) to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to cut some sides, they picked "The Puppet" out of the demo pile but mistakenly sang the refrain as "I'm your puppet." Penn initially dismissed the track as a Sam & Dave rip-off but agreed to release it as a single anyway. "When it came out and became a hit, I loved it," the writer and producer laughingly admitted. "It was easy to get on board later."
Aretha Franklin went into Atlantic Records' New York studio on Valentine’s Day, 1967, with the idea to remake the then-two-year-old Otis Redding track “Respect.” Producer Jerry Wexler brought in musicians from Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and celebrated sax man King Curtis; Aretha’s sisters, Carolyn and Erma, provided backing vocals; Arif Mardin arranged and Tom Dowd engineered. Mardin summed up the feeling of the day: “I have been in many studios in my life, but there was never a day like that. It was like a festival. Everything worked just right.” Aretha and Carolyn Franklin came up with the idea to spell out the word respect in the bridge and to add the “sock it to me” chant at the end. “I fell off my chair when I heard that!” said Dowd. To clarify, that often-misunderstood line is “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, T.C.B.,” where T.C.B. stands for “take care of business.”