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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

“Vans”

The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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