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Song Stories

“Respect”

Aretha Franklin | 1967

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.”

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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