News of the death of the “Queen of Soul” felt like a hammer blow yesterday given the state the US is in right now, and though Franklin claimed that she wasn’t a political singer, many of her best-known songs had a clear resonance with the womens and civil rights movements. She also gave the world a song originally heralded as an anthem of female independence but which soon “transformed it into an angry rejection of the chain of command” for African-American soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. As Lee Andresen wrote in Battle Notes: Music of the Vietnam War: “Although songs like ‘Chain of Fools’ and ‘Respect’ didn’t directly address the war, tapes of [Franklin’s] music became as essential a part of field kits as C-rations and morphine.” Elsewhere RS notes her 6 best country interpretations.
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