The best songs about respect of all time echo the deep admiration the artists feel for the people in their lives, as well as what it takes to win the respect of their peers.
These songs also reflect the need for greater respect in the wider world, whether in how we treat women or with regard to racial relations and injustice.
Continue reading, and we’ll break down the essential music you need to listen to that explore the nature of respect from some of the world’s leading singers and bands.
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The 23 Best Songs About Respect of All Time
We’ve dug through the archives of music history to uncover a broad selection of songs about respect that reflect the diverse range of approaches to the subject.
If you’re a fan of classic soul and funk or prefer hip-hop and modern pop music, there’s an awesome song in this playlist that will match your taste.
Let’s get started and dive into this playlist of the 23 best songs about respect of all time:
23. “I Promise” – Radiohead
Radiohead has written and performed some of the best songs of all time, with their song “I Promise,” a powerful piece of music about respect.
Thom Yorke sings about his promise to his lover to always be there for her, outlining each of these steps in the song’s lyrics.
Originally intended to be featured on the 1997 album OK Computer, “I Promise” wasn’t actually released officially until the album was re-released in 2017.
22. “Show Some Respect” – Bobby Wills
One of the best country music songs about respect is “Show Some Respect” by Bobby Wills, which was released in 2012.
Featuring ambiguous lyrics, “Show Some Respect” is interpreted as everything from a song about his love for his guitar to a fond recollection of his old truck.
It’s also very much about showing respect for those around you, as well as self-respect and not judging people before analyzing your own behavior.
21. “No Matter What” – Badfinger
Badfinger’s classic rock song from 1970, “No Matter What,” was one of the band’s bigger hits, charting in the top 10 in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
“No matter where you go, there will always be a place,” the lyrics sing, continuing with, “Can’t you see it in my face, girl? Ooh, girl, I want you.”
“No Matter What” was featured on Badfinger’s studio album No Dice, the British band’s third album released through Apple Records.
20. “Respectable” – The Rolling Stones
Another great rock song about respect is the classic track from the Rolling Stones, “Respectable,” released as a single in 1978.
It’s a fast-paced rock anthem that explores the lack of acceptance the band felt when mingling in upper-class circles at the height of their fame.
The lyrics also explore feelings of respect and admiration felt for Mick Jagger’s then-wife Bianca Jagger, referencing her visit to the White House.
19. “Show Some Respect” – Sting
Sting reworked his previous song, “Respect,” several years later, tweaking the title to “Show Some Respect” and introducing a new arrangement.
“Show some respect, fill the deck, get the lassies twirling,” Sting sings in this powerful song, “‘Cos they expect to be swept off their feet and whirling.”
It’s one of the lesser-known songs from Sting, and it was included in the track listing of his 2013 album The Last Ship.
18. “Wonder Woman” – Lion Babe
For Lion Babe, their approach to the concept of respect in their song “Wonder Woman” came from the perspective of women’s rights.
This powerful respect song urges the listener to learn how to respect themselves before they can expect others to show them the same respect.
It’s an impressively produced track that was released with a beautifully shot official HD music video full of vibrant colors and powerful imagery.
17. “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” – Robyn
Another example of a catchy song about respect is “Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” by Robyn, which also covers the topic from the perspective of women.
In this song, Robyn sings about the various ways a man can treat a woman with respect and dignity, whether she’s their wife, daughter, or mother.
“Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)” is a compelling song that urges mutual respect with a cheerful and playful vibe.
16. “Respect My Conglomerate” – Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes teamed up with a large group of other leading rappers for the song “Respect My Conglomerate,” which also featured Lil Wayne and Jadakiss.
“The image and the style that you’re used to, you see we droppin’ that strong shit,” Busta Rhymes raps in the song. “More powerful and dominant, so just respect my conglomerate.”
“Respect My Conglomerate” was released by Busta Rhymes in 2009 on his album Back on My B.S., and it was the standout track on an otherwise lackluster release.
15. “Loyalty” – Kendrick Lamar And Rihanna
Respect and loyalty often go hand in hand, which is something that Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna explore in the song “Loyalty.”
This Grammy Award-winning song explores many important questions around the concept of respect, from the basis of friendship to the foundation of romantic relationships.
It’s a hip-hop classic that tackles sensitive topics around trust and respect, and it has become one of the most iconic songs from Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna.
14. “Can’t Hold Us Down” – Christina Aguilera
Another megastar to produce one of the best songs about respect is Christina Aguilera, with the excellent track “Can’t Hold Us Down.”
This song also explores respect from the point of view of women, with Aguilera singing, “So what am I not supposed to have an opinion; should I keep quiet just because I’m a woman.”
Responsible for some of the best karaoke songs you can sing along to, Christina Aguilera’s career is one of many high points and successes.
13. “Show Some Respect” – Tina Turner
“Show Some Respect” by Tina Turner is all about women who struggle to strike the right balance between work and their many other commitments.
It’s a song that urges everyone to recognize these difficult challenges and accept the choices that women make in their lives so that a relationship can succeed.
Tina Turner has an impressive discography, with her most popular song, “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” topping the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1984.
12. “A Little Respect” – Erasure
Another excellent song from the 1980s that tackles the subject of respect is Erasure’s “A Little Respect,” which also hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
“I try to discover a little something to make me sweeter,” the sweet lyrics sing, continuing with, “Oh baby refrain from breaking my heart, I’m so in love with you.”
Released in 1988, “A Little Respect” epitomized the popular songs the singer Andy Bell and producer Vince Clarke were renowned for throughout the decade.
11. “Respect” – P!nk
Singer-songwriter P!nk has explored many topics throughout her career, from one of the best songs about addiction to “Respect.”
This catchy tune from 2001 is another great song that urges women to feel empowered and take charge of their lives and reject the clichéd pick-up lines some men use.
Blending pop music with R&B, “Respect” was one of many songs featured on her album Missundaztood, which included tracks with Linda Perry and Steven Tyler.
10. “Amendment” – Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco’s 2012 song “Amendment” is among the most beautiful songs about respect featured in this playlist and a stirring piece about women’s rights.
As well as being a great song about civil rights, it’s also a reflection of today’s society and the increasing calls for equality and tolerance.
“Amendment” will resonate with anyone seeking freedom and respect for their beliefs, and while it isn’t one of the most famous songs on the subject, it’s one of the most passionate.
9. “Respect Yourself” – The Staple Singers
The Staple Singers released their classic track “Respect Yourself” in 1971, urging the listeners to respect themselves before expecting others to respect them.
It’s a groovy tune with a driving beat that features lyrics suggesting that no one deserves respect until they give a good impression.
The Staple Singers released “Respect Yourself” on the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, which fused elements of traditional gospel with a more contemporary sound.
8. “Respect” – Notorious B.I.G.
One of the greatest rap songs to explore the word “respect” came from one of the genre’s true titans, the Notorious B.I.G.
“Respect” was released in 1994 at the height of his popularity and showed the rapper’s vulnerable and self-effacing side of his personality.
Featuring sharp-as-a-knife vocals and driving percussion, “Respect” marked another high point in the career of the Notorious B.I.G.
7. “Respect Yourself” – B.B. King
Two years after the Staple Singers released their version of “Respect Yourself,” B.B. King followed it up with his own impressive cover version.
As you might expect, this version is a jazz-infused classic featuring the lyrics, “If you disrespect everybody that you’d run into, how in the world do you think anybody suppose to respect you?”
B.B. King featured this version of “Respect Yourself” on the album To Know You Is to Love You, which included tracks produced with the participation of Stevie Wonder.
6. “I’m Gonna Give You Respect” – Marvin Gaye
Few singers have impressed audiences with their impressive vocals quite as effectively as Marvin Gaye, and his full singing range is evident in the song “I’m Gonna Give You Respect.”
In this song, Gaye sings about an imperfect woman who does her best to make the most of a bad situation and earn respect from her peers.
Marvin Gaye sang on many interesting topics, including one of the best songs about peace, “What’s Goin’ On,” which was released in 1971.
5. “Money, Power & Respect” – The Lox Ft. Lil Kim & DMX
“Money, Power & Respect” was a stand-out song from the debut album by the Lox, which drew upon the vocal talents of Lil Kim and DMX.
It’s a clarion cry for everyone to understand how money, power, respect, and other forces work to enforce social stratification in America and around the world.
Released on the album of the same name, “Money, Power & Respect” is Lox’s biggest hit to date, selling over 500,000 copies and earning gold certification from the RIAA.
4. “Sure Thing” – Miguel
“Sure Thing” by Miguel impressed fans with its powerful official music video and proved to be one of the most outstanding soul tracks of 2010.
“Treat you like a friend (you could bet that, never gotta sweat that),” the lyrics sing, continuing, “Respect you like a lover (you could bet that, never gotta sweat that).”
It’s a moving and empowering song that urges people to discover self-respect in their lives and take control of their destinies.
3. “Respect” – Stevie Wonder
Like Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder served as a powerful voice for the rights of African Americans throughout his career, as is exemplified in his song “Respect.”
In this song, Stevie Wonder narrates the experiences of a man who demands respect from his wife when he arrives home from work with wonderfully danceable musical arrangements.
With many hit songs throughout his discography, Wonder picked up an outstanding 25 Grammy Awards and over 70 additional nominations.
2. “Respect” – The Supremes & The Temptations
Two of the best vocal groups of their time joined forces for the song “Respect,” which showcased the talents of the Supremes and the Temptations.
With wonderful instrumentation thrown in for good measure, this song about respect is a harmonic joy to listen to and a must for anyone’s playlist on the topic.
Released in 1968, “Respect” stands as one of the best collaborations of all time, held in high regard to this day by all kinds of music fans.
1. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin
Last but by no means least, it’s the classic song from Aretha Franklin, “Respect,” which is her hugely popular cover of the Otis Redding song from 1965.
With Aretha’s original version, the listener is treated with some incredible rhythms along with Franklin’s iconic vocal style, and it’s a song that has withstood the test of time.
It’s a great song to listen to alongside her iconic song about gratitude, “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” which is widely regarded as one of the best soul albums ever recorded.
So there you have it, our complete guide covering the best respect songs you can listen to from the last several decades of popular music history.
While many of these songs about respect explore the concept from the perspective of interpersonal relationships, others take a more abstract approach to the nature of respect.
Honorable mentions go to world-class artists, including John Lennon, Lady Gaga, and Bruno Mars, each of whom has covered the subject in their own inimitable style.
What’s the best song about respect of all time, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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