Aretha Franklin’s respect earns top spot on Rolling Stone Magazine top 500 songs3 minute read

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Rolling Stone magazine has updated their top 500 songs list and there were a bunch of interesting changes before all was said and done. In fact, the queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin earned the top spot thanks to her hit song, respect. This marks the first time in the magazine’s history that the #1 song wasn’t Bob Dylan’s like a rolling stone.

Like a rolling stone,” had the top spot, while Franklin’s anthem, “respect“, sat 5th in the running order when the original list was published in 2004. This was the case again in 2010 as well when the magazine updated the list to include 20 songs from the 2000s as well.  Despite Franklin’s accomplishment being well deserved for someone who has broken many barriers for women and people of color, some people have to wonder why it took the top spot?

As much as some might want to have the knee-jerk reaction of calling it affirmative action, it seems to be the result of a changing demographic. Furthermore, it has to do with a sincere and growing appreciation for what other races have brought to music. Now, that doesn’t mean Franklin hasn’t been praised for her contributions to music, it just means that it is slowly starting to take on a new appreciation as an anthem for the youth.

While Bob Dylan asking us how does it feel to be on your own hit home for many growing up, Franklin’s asking for respect reflects a growing demographic of young people that are asking for the same thing. Of course, no one want’s to bring up politics, or race, especially when it comes to a joyful realm like entertainment, but this is what may have helped drive the decision.

Not in a bad way. It just means that Franklin’s song now resonates with a growing number of people from different races and backgrounds that are asking for respect. Whether it’s a BLM protester, a woman in the workforce, or even the politically disenfranchised, they all deserve our respect. At least at a base level and as a human being.

Back in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Bob Dylan’s tale of growing up resonated with people trying to do the same thing. It was an anthem of its time. With that being said, however, Aretha Franklin is starting to get the respect she deserved a long time ago, making the decision easy to understand. In hindsight, Franklin probably deserved the honor a long time ago, but it is nice to see her finally get it now.

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