Wednesday, August 22, 2018

"Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" by Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin

Song#:  2504
Date:  10/19/1985
Debut:  62
Peak:  18
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul, R&B

Pop Bits:  Eurythmics' album Be Yourself Tonight contained a few tracks that featured guests like Stevie Wonder and Elvis Costello, but perhaps their biggest coup was securing Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin for this empowerment duet. It would be released as the third single from both Eurythmics' album and Franklin's Who's Zoomin' Who album, which was out at the same time. The song would peak inside the Pop Top 20 while getting to #10 at Dance and #66 R&B. It would be a bigger hit in the UK reaching #9. The song would earn the artists a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Duo or Group. Although not a huge hit upon initial release, the song has had a long-lasting impact and stands alongside other popular empowerment songs past and present, including Franklin's own 1967 hit "Respect."

ReduxReview:  I certainly thought this was a great song when I heard it on the album, but when it was selected for single release, I didn't know if it would do anything. I thought it might be too old school R&B for some and that the lyrics might alienate some folks (men! well, not us gay men, of course...) or even radio DJs. Yet it did pretty damn well and it even eclipsed their previous single by a few notches. It probably helped that Franklin had just made her fabulous comeback so the pairing was quite timely. It certainly has lasted over the years with the song being used in TV shows and movies. I'd even venture to guess that this is at or near the top of the list of Eurythmics songs to be licensed out for use. I think that I actually appreciate this song more now that I did when it first came out.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  When Annie Lennox came up with the first lyrics for the song, she had the idea that it should feature another woman's voice. After she and Dave Stewart completed the song, they approached Tina Turner to be Lennox's duet partner. Yet Turner ended up turning them down. Apparently, Turner thought the song to be too feminist and not something she wanted to do. So Lennox and Stewart next approached Aretha Franklin for the spot. She accepted and they all met up in Detroit to do the vocal work for the song. According to Lennox, the two divas didn't necessarily have an immediate connection with each other on first meeting. However, they got along just fine and mashed out the duet. Lennox also said in a Variety interview that Franklin asked for clarity on what the song was about as she thought it might have to do with masturbation. Lennox quickly put any fears Franklin had about the song to rest and explained the empowerment aspects of the lyrics.


No comments:

Post a Comment