I Say a Little Prayer peaked at no 10 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in October 1968.
Intended by lyricist Hal David to convey a woman’s concern for her man who’s serving in the Vietnam War, “I Say a Little Prayer” was originally recorded by Dionne Warwick.
The song returned to the charts in 1968 via a recording by Aretha Franklin taken from her album Aretha Now. Franklin and background vocalists The Sweet Inspirations were singing the song for fun while rehearsing songs intended for the album. The viability of their recording “I Say a Little Prayer” became apparent, significantly re-invented from the format of the Dionne Warwick original via the prominence of Clayton Ivey’s piano work.
Aretha Franklin was blessed with arguably the greatest singing voice in the history of recorded music — and with it, the superhuman ability to make songs better than they were originally conceived.
“I Say a Little Prayer,” written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, is one of those songs. Originally recorded by Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin released her own version of the song in the summer of 1968 and completely transformed it.
The arrangement allows Franklin to show off her one-of-a-kind voice, transforming the song into something that climbs, yearns, and builds. It’s as if somewhere in her soul, she truly believes the person she’s singing to is the only one for her.
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
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