Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Rhythm & Blues” edition, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Aretha Franklin, Think. Album: Aretha Now 1968
Franklin wrote this with Teddy White, who was her husband and manager. In the song, Aretha sings about freedom and respect for women.
Jerry Wexler, who worked with Franklin on many of her hit songs, produced this track at the Atlantic Records recording studios in New York. Members of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section played at the session.
This song was released on May 2, 1968, less than a month after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4. Franklin’s family was close to King, and Aretha attended his funeral. The song’s insistent refrain of “freedom” evoked one of King’s famous quotes: “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.”
Franklin performed this in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Her career was experiencing a lull at that point, so she was happy to get back into the public eye with the film. A few years later, she was back on top with her hits “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and “Freeway of Love.”
The Blues Brothers themselves also recorded the song, which was released as the B-side of their 1989 UK single “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.”
“Think” is one of Franklin’s most enduring songs, and one she often performed live. It was the sixth of her 20 #1 singles on the R&B chart.
Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections in America, Levi’s used this in a commercial encouraging people to vote. The spot mostly used the “freedom” part of the song.