Does soul music have your heart? It is Aretha Franklin who made it so divine! Aretha Franklin songs were an expression of beauty and strength that the greatest of all time perfectly fused in her singing.

Be it the chartbuster “Amazing Grace” or the most famous “Respect,” she earned a crown for herself that no one could dare to claim.

I cannot agree more with former president Barrack Obama’s words. He said, “American history wells up when Aretha sings.”

Do you want to explore her best numbers once again? Let me take you through the journey and share some essential highlights you need to be familiar with.

Top 7 Aretha Franklin Songs


Top 7 Aretha Franklin Songs

Whenever I listen to Aretha Franklin top songs, her voice glides between G2 to D6, like the music of nature itself.

The music by Aretha Franklin also expresses her brilliance in phrasing, and her broad “belty” voice with a unique touch of nasality made it a treasure for the soul music genre.

So, naturally, it’s impossible to pick the top 7 numbers among the bounty she has offered. Still, here are my silent favorites.



Released in 1967, this song was the launchpad of Aretha Franklin’s unmatched success. She was already a known voice with her “Skylark,” but this one announced that she had arrived.

He took the Otis Redding song to another level with the addition of the R-E-S-P-E-C-T hook and the “Sock it to me” refrain. Redding acknowledged how she did justice and even made it better by saying, “The girl has taken that song from me. From now on, it belongs to her.”


Find out what it means to me


Take care, TCB, oh

A little respect

(Sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me)

Whoa, babe

a little respect

(Just a little bit) I get tired

(Just a little bit) keep on tryin’

(Just a little bit) you’re runnin’ out of fools

(Just a little bit) and I ain’t lyin’

(Just a little bit)

start when you come home

(Re, re, re, respect) or you might walk in

(Just a little bit) and find out I’m gone

(Just a little bit) I gotta have.”

Her vocal, with all the dynamics, made the song enormous. Even today, it’s like a gospel or one of the most prominent reference points when we talk about black pride and feminism in popular music.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is an album that has some of Anne Franklin most popular songs, and it’s also her best-selling hit. I could not pick one from the album released in 1972, and that’s why placing all of them at number 2.

Her homage to the Gospel, especially the title track, leaves me in awe every time I listen. Singing with the Southern California Community Choir, she offered an ethereal experience with her intuitive vocal and extemporization.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind but now I see

Was Grace that taught my heart to fear

And Grace, my fears relieved

How precious did that Grace appear

The hour I first believed…”

It’s profound and transcendental!

Freeway Of Love

Freeway Of Love

You cannot just miss Freeway of Love if you are looking for “Aretha Franklin 1980s hits.” Like many other songs by Aretha Franklin, this one also remains relevant and becomes history by highlighting some important issues. As “Respect” is an anthem of black pride and feminism, Freeway of Love talks about automotive freedom.

As usual, her vocal was astounding in this song, and Clarence Clemons’s saxophone was the perfect complement to it.

“We’re goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love

Wind’s against our backs

We’re goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love

In my pink Cadillac

We’re goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love

Wind’s against our backs

Ain’t we ridin’ on the freeway of love

In my pink Cadillac..”

Day Dreaming

Day Dreaming

An ode to love! This is how I want to describe this song of Aretha Franklin. It was released in 1972, and rumor says it’s about the affair between the soul music queen and Dennis Edwards.

The entire vibe is very relaxed and soaked in passionate love. Besides the voice of Aretha Franklin, it’s the electric piano of Donny Hathaway and the flute of Hubert Laws which make the song ethereal.

“Daydreamin’ and I’m thinkin’ of you

Daydreamin’ and I’m thinkin’ of you

Daydreamin’ and I’m thinkin’ of you

Daydreamin’ and I’m thinkin’ of you

Look at my heart floating away

He’s the kind of guy that would say

“Hey, baby, let’s get away, let’s go some place, huh”

Where, I don’t care

He’s the kind of guy that you give your everything

And trust your heart, share all of your love, ’til death do you part…”



“Freedom” and the constant cry for it is what this Aretha Franklin song is all about. The divine up there and everyone beneath the sky could hear when she sang “Freedom” with her backup singers.

The piano chords and beats perfectly catered to the song’s essence, and I can never forget the lines when she sings,

“You better think (think)

Think about what you’re trying to do to me

Think (think, think)

Let your mind go, let yourself be free…”

Rock Steady

Rock Steady

If you love dance numbers, Aretha Franklin music can also cater to that. This 1972 number is a testament to her as a lyricist and how she could use her vocals to ride the rhythms. Everything was perfect in this song, from the chorus to the guitar and bass.

“Rock steady, baby

That’s what I feel now

Let’s call this song exactly what it is

Just move your hips with a feeling from side to side…”

You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman

You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman

Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned this song exclusively for Aretha Franklin, and she did complete justice to it with her transcendental voice.

The piano chords of Mr. Oldham, the strings, and the spirited vocal of Franklin resonate the essence of being a woman like nothing else. It’s exuberant and soul-stirring at the same time with the lines,

“…Before the day I met you

Life was so unkind

You’re the key

To my piece of mind

‘Cause you make me feel

You make me feel

You make me feel

Like a natural woman


Some Other Aretha Franklin Songs You Need To Know About

Why Is Aretha Franklin One Of Greatest Singers In US History?

If you are familiar with or are interested in Aretha Franklin music, you will find she has left a sea of treasures for us. Among many other noble things, her greatest achievement was how she stood rock solid through the 60s, 70s, and 80s when hip hop and disco music were a rage. She chose to be different with her soul music and profound understanding of the craft.

Along with the top 7 numbers picked by me, some other Aretha Franklin songs worthy of a mention are –

  • United Together
  • It’s Gonna Get a Bit Better
  • I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
  • A Rose Is Still a Rose
  • A Deeper Love
  • Young, Gifted and Black

A singer and a woman full of spirit, her songs prove why she has left a legacy that’s hard to match.

Why Is Aretha Franklin One Of Greatest Singers In US History?

Aretha Franklin songs are so relevant to date, and she is surely one of the greatest in US history. Drenched in social issues and emotions and backed by her powerful vocal, each number beautifully portrays the time and yet is transcendental.

Her Songs Were About A Cry For The Change

Aretha Franklin was much beyond a powerful song that made many songs immortal. She used her voice and music as a civil rights activist.

She got it from her father and the organizer of the “1963 Walk to Freedom,” Clarence L. Franklin. So, it was not a surprise when she used her music and her songs to establish equality and justice.

The singer herself once said, “Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.

When you listen to the Aretha Franklin songs like Respect, Think, and many others, you will understand how she stood for feminism, civil rights, and black pride.

Aretha Franklin: A Fashion Icon

An icon in her own right, Aretha Franklin made a statement every time she appeared on the stage. Her pantsuits, gowns, jewelry, hats, and head gears were a rage then.

Aretha Franklin: A Fashion Icon

Her Buoyant Personality

Ms. Franklin always had the gift of the gab. Also, she preserved her pristine personality, reflected in her music.

So, listening to her music has always been like connecting with a woman who knows her mind and is never afraid of voicing it loud and proud.

Paving Ways For Upcoming Women Singers

Aretha Franklin songs inspired many, especially women singers, to make a future in music. Also, she was completely in charge of what she was doing with music and how she wanted to shape her career.

Her success, brought by her abilities and hard work, opened doors to many aspiring female singers in the music industry.

Spirituality Reigned Supreme In Aretha Franklin Songs

Spirituality Reigned Supreme In Aretha Franklin Songs

Aretha Franklin songs are transcendental and have the most profound spiritual themes. You never know when the lines apparently about a present crisis become about something much beyond. They are authentic, and with the singer’s vocals, they help you make a higher connection.

That’s probably why she has inspired many others who want to follow her musical path. From Jennifer Hudson to Taylor Swift, she has many admirers.

Her Voice And Way Of Emoting Were Matchless  

It’s known that Aretha Franklin brought soul music and R&B into the mainstream. But she is more celebrated for how she could use her voice and how it was like a complete army.

Thanks to her magical range, she could deliver a dance number, a ballad, or the most spiritual ode to the Gospel with the same ease.

In addition, she brought a rainbow of emotion through her songs. If you analyze technically, the dynamics and range of her voice were definitely the tools that helped.

But to me, it’s the sincere emotion she delivered with every song. When I listen to “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman,” I feel like it’s about me. That’s the magic of her singing.

Behind The Story: A Note On Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace Completing 51 Years

Behind The Story: A Note On Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace Completing 51 Years

Amazing Grace is the best-selling hit of Aretha Franklin, and this year it successfully completes 51 years. So, I thought of sharing some insight stories about this album.

Aretha Franklin recorded Amazing Grace at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles. Reverend James Cleveland accompanied her in the recording in front of a live congregation.

Pastor Alexander Hamilton, the director of the choir that night, once said in an interview, “You look at Aretha, and while you see the artistry and the command of the voice, you also see in her the humility. She was not the Aretha in lights that you see on the stage. She was just Aretha, our sister, singing for the Lord.”

Hamilton also said that Amazing Grace was recorded at a time when a lot of things were happening socially and artistically among the residents of Los Angeles.

So, it will not be wrong to mention the album as the extension of contemporary social life and artistry mixed with the signature spirituality of Aretha Franklin.

Respect: The Aretha Franklin Biopic

The year 2021 came with the biopic of Aretha Franklin, “Respect.” Directed by Liesel Tommy, this movie had Jennifer Hudson in the role of this iconic singer.

This movie has a lot of elements and covers the journey of the iconic singer through two decades. It also portrays her childhood in a well-off African American family, how she dealt with life after her mother’s death, her abusive marriage, and the rise to her international stardom.

Some More Aretha Franklin Songs You Can Listen To   

It is difficult to pick a handful of songs from the ones sung by Aretha Franklin. Along with the best seven songs mentioned, here are a few more suggestions for you.


If you love ballads, you will surely love Angel by Aretha Franklin. This song is a part of Franklin’s Hey Now Hey or The Other Side of the Sky.

This is a song written by Aretha Franklin and her sister Carolyn Franklin. Their friend, Sonny Sanders, also contributed to the lyrics of this song.

The song beautifully depicts a conversation between Aretha and her sister Carolyn. Aretha asks her sister to be by her side as she feels lonely in the absence of a loving partner.  

Aretha sings that her her heart is lonely and she soon needs to find a home. Carolyn assures that Aretha will soon meet a loving partner.

Do Right Woman, Do Right Man   

This album was released even before the “Respect” frenzy happened. This one is a humble offering from the queen of soul music. It was published in 1967.

Dan Penn and Chips Moman penned the words for this song. With powerful music and lyrics, this song has the potential to be an anthem for women.

The song beautifully takes reference from the Gospel and makes a plea about how men should respect women.

The song further highlights that when a man treats his partner with respect and does not consider her as a plaything, she will not think of leaving him.

It’s unfortunate that the success of this song got hidden beneath the mammoth popularity of Respect. However, if you are a connoisseur of good music, this one will always be on your Aretha Franklin playlist.

The song is so impactful that many other renowned artists have come up with their own versions of the song. Some prominent names to cover this song are Whitney Houston, Joe Cocker, Etta James, and Cher.

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves  

Aretha Franklin made a gala entry into the charts in 1985 with this feminist number. Critics, musicians, and listeners at that time found the song to be fierce.

Further, this song had all the elements of her blockbusters from the 70s, but the presentation of this song was “glossier.”

The song also highlighted the range of Aretha Franklin as a singer. Despite the pounding sounds of the drums in the arrangement, her voice shone bright and clear.

Respect: The Aretha Franklin Biopic

Final Words

I face a lot of dilemmas when I have to speak about Aretha Franklin or Aretha Franklin songs. Sometimes, I am at a loss for words; sometimes, the effervescence of emotion inside me fails to find proper expressions.

While exploring her music and journey once again, I can only say that she has been the ultimate in soul music, and few could bring societal issues, love, women’s life, and, most importantly, spirituality so beautifully in songs.

The music of Aretha Franklin is like a forever journey, and we all are indeed touched by it.What’s your favorite Aretha Franklin song? Don’t forget to share.

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sibashree bhattacharya
Sibashree has been into SEO and eCommerce content writing for more than 9 years. She loves reading books and is a huge fan of those over-the-top period dramas. Her favorite niches are fashion, lifestyle, beauty, traveling, relationships, women's interests, and movies. The strength of her writing lies in thorough research backing and an understanding of readers’ pain points.

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