Respect Yourself

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"Respect Yourself"
Single by The Staple Singers
from the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
B-side "You're Gonna Make Me Cry"
Released October 1971
Genre Soul, rock
Length 4:54
Label Stax
Writer(s) Luther Ingram, Mack Rice
Producer(s) Al Bell
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
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"
Released 1987
Genre Pop, soul
Length 3:53
Label Motown
Writer(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 #1 on KHJ, #12 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart and is one of the group's most recognizable hits. Bruce Willis recorded a cover version of the song in 1987 featuring The Pointer Sisters; it peaked at #5 on the Hot 100. 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]


The song was written by Stax Records singer Luther Ingram and Stax 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, then gave the song to the Staples, who were also signed to Stax. Producer Al Bell teamed the group with the storied 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 horns were overdubbed by Manning after the vocals were recorded, and were played by The Memphis Horns. The confrontational song had resonance for a burgeoning self-empowerment movement for African-Americans during the post-civil-rights-movement 1970s,[citation needed] as well as women demanding more respect during those same years.[citation needed] The Staple Singers' long version featured Roebuck "Pops" Staples, nearly 57 at the time, on lead for more than two minutes.

Chart positions (Staple Singers' version)[edit]

Charts Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 2

Chart positions (Bruce Willis' version)[edit]

Charts Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Soul Singles 20

Cover versions[edit]

"Respect Yourself" has been covered numerous times, including but not limited to the following:


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ "Big Tent Revival, "Big Tent Revival" Review". 1995-03-21. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 

External links[edit]