The Staple Singers’ Respect Yourself

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The Staple Singers’ Respect Yourself

The Staple Singers' Respect Yourself

Sounds of Soul

The song was written by Stax Records songwriter Mack Rice and singer Luther Ingram.¬† The song was released in 1971 as a single, backed with “You’re Gonne Make Me Cry.” And in 1972, the song was released on The Staple Singers’ album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself. The 1970s were a time of change for minorities in the U.S. The story behind the song is that Ingram, frustrated with the world, said to Rice that “black folk need to learn to respect themselves.” Rica e built a funk groove around it. The Staple Singers, who had left Epic Records and were with Sax at the time, recorded it. “Respect Yourself” went to #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the U.S. Hot R&B chart, and #17 in Canada.

There have been numerous covers of “Respect Yourself.” These artists include B. B. King, The Kane Gang, Bruce Willis (with The Pointer Sisters), Robert Palmer, Big Tent Revival, Joe Cocker, The Temptations, Hey Lewis and the News, and Melissa Etheridge, to name a few.

A little bit of trivia is that the first Soul Train dance line was to “Respect¬† Yourself.”

The Staple Singers were a gospel, R&B, and soul group. Roebuck “Pops” Staples formed them with his children Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis. Yvonne replaced her brother when he was drafted into the U.S. Army and again in 1970. On the track were Pops Staples, Mavis Staples, Cleotha Staples, Yvonne Staples, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and Ben Cauley & The Memphis Horns.

Here are the lyrics to “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers:

If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody’s s’posed to respect you
If you don’t give a heck ’bout the man with the Bible in his hand, y’all
Just get out the way, and let the gentleman do his thing
You the kind of gentleman that want everything your way, yeah
Take the sheet off your face, boy, it’s a brand new day

Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself

If you’re walking ’round think’n that the world owes you something ’cause you’re here
You goin’ out the world backwards like you did when you first come here yeah
Keep talkin’ bout the president, won’t stop air pollution
Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that’ll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around women and you don’t even know their names, no
Then you’re dumb enough to think that’ll make you a big ol’ man

Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself
If you don’t respect yourself
Ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na na na
Respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself, respect yourself [repeat]

For More 70s Tunes

The System has daily featured music from all sorts of genres of 1970s music. You’re welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections in The System. Thank you for stopping by. Hope you enjoyed “Respect Yourself” by The Staple Singers.

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