Aretha Franklin’s “Never Gonna Break My Faith” has dropped as a solo version via RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings. The previously unreleased track features the Boys Choir of Harlem.
Originally released as a duet between Franklin and Mary J. Blige for the 2006 movie Bobby, the Grammy Award-winning song was cowritten with Bryan Adams.
“When I wrote this song, I was channeling Aretha, never thinking that she’d ever actually sing the song,” Adams said in a statement. “The thought was to write a hymn, something that would try and articulate the feeling of faith, and that even though you might have lost something, there would always be an inner light to guide you.
“When the song was demo’d, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this — and sing it she did. This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard [Sony Music’s Creative Officer and longtime producer and friend of Franklin] Clive [Davis] was making a film on Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world hasn’t heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”
The spiritually uplifting and soulful track inspires hope and to remain resolute in the world’s uprising against systemic racism and police brutality. The lyrics ring as true today as they did more than a decade ago when it was written.
“You can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that color ain’t about a race,” the late Queen of Soul belts on the chorus. “You can cast the first stone, you can break my bones/But you’re never gonna break/You’re never gonna break my/Faith and hope ain’t yours to give/Truth and liberty are mine to live/Steal a crown from a king, break an angel’s wings/But you’re never gonna break, never gonna break my faith.”