Civil Rights Era Protest Songs

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  • Sam Cooke
  • Nina Simone
  • Otis Redding
  • Aretha Franklin
  • James Brown
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Gil Scott Heron
  • John Coltrane
  • The Staple Singers
  • Grant Green
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bob Dylan
  • Martin Luther King Jr.

Otis Redding – "Respect" (1965)

Otis Redding's version of "Respect" in 1965 preceded Aretha Franklin's popular 1967 version. Although the songs have similar lyrics and both serve a double meaning, Redding's call for respect (in either love or a social context) was more of a plea than a command like Franklin's.

(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

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