Respect Yourself

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"Respect Yourself"
Respect Yourself - The Staple Singers.jpg
Single by The Staple Singers
from the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
B-side"You're Gonna Make Me Cry"
ReleasedOctober 1971
GenreSoul, rock
Songwriter(s)Luther Ingram, Mack Rice
Producer(s)Al Bell
The Staple Singers singles chronology
"You've Got to Earn It"
"Respect Yourself"
"I'll Take You There"
"Respect Yourself"
Single by Bruce Willis
from the album The Return of Bruno
B-side"Fun Time"
ReleasedJanuary 1987
GenrePop, soul
Songwriter(s)Luther Ingram, Mack Rice
Producer(s)Robert Kraft
Bruce Willis singles chronology
"Respect Yourself"
"Young Blood"

"Respect Yourself" is the name of a classic soul song by American R&B/gospel group The Staple Singers. Released in late 1971 from their album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, the song became a crossover hit. The Staple Singers' version peaked at #12 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart, and is one of the group's most recognizable hits. In 2002, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2010 it was ranked #468 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Writing and recording[edit]

The song was written by Stax Records singer Luther Ingram and house songwriter Mack Rice. Ingram, who was frustrated with the state of the world at the time, told Rice "black folk need to learn to respect themselves." Rice liked the comment so much that he built a funk groove around it, prepared a demo record, and suggested to record producer Al Bell that the Staple Singers record it. The group agreed.[2]

Bell teamed the group with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, musicians who laid down classic tracks for Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, and with engineer/musician Terry Manning for vocals, overdubs, and mixing, in Memphis. The musicians were Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), Jimmy Johnson (guitar), and David Hood (bass), with lead vocals by "Pops" and Mavis Staples. The horns were overdubbed by Manning after the vocals were recorded, and were played by the Memphis Horns led by Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson. The song had resonance for a burgeoning self-empowerment movement for African-Americans during the post-civil-rights movement of the 1970s.[2] The Staple Singers' long version featured Roebuck "Pops" Staples, nearly 57 at the time, on lead for more than two minutes.[citation needed]


"Respect Yourself" has been covered by various artists, including The Kane Gang and Bruce Willis.

Chart performance[edit]

Staple Singers' version[edit]

Chart (1971–72) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[3] 17
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 12
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[5] 2

Bruce Willis' version[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 57
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[7] 8
UK Singles (OCC)[8] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 5
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[10] 20
Year-end chart (1987) Position
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[11] 89


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Retrieved 2008-06-22.
  2. ^ a b Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song. Grove Press. pp. 202–209. ISBN 978-1-61185-525-8.
  3. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5298." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  4. ^ "The Staple Singers Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "The Staple Singers Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 340. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. ^ Peaked on RPM 100 Singles Chart on March 7, 1987
  8. ^ "Bruce Willis: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  9. ^ "Bruce Willis Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "Bruce Willis Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "1987 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 99 (52). December 26, 1987.

External links[edit]