Aretha Franklin's biggest hits: Her most downloaded and streamed singles revealed

The Queen of Soul's timeless classics are still being streamed in their millions today.

Aretha Franklin rightfully earned the title of "Queen of Soul". One of the most successful and iconic artists of her time, she was ranked Number 1 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Looking at downloads and streams in the UK, Aretha has notched up over 712,000 downloads across her singles in the digital era and 90 million streams since 2014 - some 50 years after she first found success on the charts.

Respect

Her biggest track of the streaming era is one many would consider her signature hit, Respect, which was her international breakthrough single in 1967. Written and first recorded by Otis Redding in 1965, Aretha took possession of the song and made her cover the definitive version.

Respect, which has 22 million streams and 141,000 downloads in the UK, was Aretha's first Number 1 in America and a Top 10 hit on the Official UK Singles Chart, and was the song that established her as the Queen of Soul. Aretha's version isn't just asking for respect, it's a woman calling for an end to compromise and sacrifice.

I Say A Little Prayer

Originally released by Dionne Warwick in 1967, Aretha's take - released less than a year later - is significantly different. The song was intended to be the B-side of 1968 single The House that Jack Built, but took off in its own right and became a huge hit, peaking at Number 4 on America's Billboard Hot 100. 

Jerry Wexler, who produced Prayer (and is often credited with 'inventing' rhyhtm and blues music) heard Aretha playing around with the song in the studio and insisted she recorded her version on the spot. In the UK, the track has 145,000 downloads and 16 million streams.

I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)

In third is her George Michael collaboration I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), which spent two weeks at Number 1 on the Official UK Singles Chart in February 1987. It was also a chart-topper in America and huge hit across the world, re-establishing Aretha on the global stage. Since 2005, the song has notched up 65,000 downloads and 5.3 million streams. 

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Aretha's fourth most downloaded/streamed single is another that has stood the test of time: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. Co-written by Carole King, the song describes a woman who is pulled out of her depression by a new love. The track has 5.8 million streams and 44,000 downloads to date. 

Son Of A Preacher Man

A hit for Dusty Springfield in 1968, Son Of A Preacher Man was originally recorded by Aretha a year earlier, who passed on it as it didn't fit with her album. Only when it was a hit for Dusty did Aretha reconsider and release it herself in 1970. Bonus fact: Aretha's older sister Erma also recorded the track in 1969 and included it on her album Soul Sister. Aretha's recording has amassed 4.3 million streams since 2014. 

Aretha Franklin's Official Top 10 most streamed songs in the UK

POS TITLE ARTIST PEAK YEAR
1 RESPECT ARETHA FRANKLIN 10 1967
2 I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER ARETHA FRANKLIN 4 1968
3 (YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE) A NATURAL WOMAN ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1967
4 I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) GEORGE MICHAEL/ARETHA FRANKLIN 1 1987
5 SON OF A PREACHER MAN ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1970
6 THINK ARETHA FRANKLIN 26 1968
7 CHAIN OF FOOLS ARETHA FRANKLIN 37 1967
8 JOY TO THE WORLD ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 2006
9 WHOS ZOOMIN WHO ARETHA FRANKLIN 11 1985
10 ROCK STEADY ARETHA FRANKLIN 81 1971

©2018 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

 

Aretha Franklin's Official Top 10 downloads in the UK

POS TITLE ARTIST PEAK YEAR
2 I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER ARETHA FRANKLIN 4 1968
1 RESPECT ARETHA FRANKLIN 10 1967
4 I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) GEORGE MICHAEL/ARETHA FRANKLIN 1 1987
3 SISTERS ARE DOIN' IT FOR THEMSELVES EURYTHMICS FT ARETHA FRANKLIN 9 1985
3 (YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE) A NATURAL WOMAN ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1967
5 SON OF A PREACHER MAN ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1970
9 WHOS ZOOMIN WHO ARETHA FRANKLIN 11 1985
6 I NEVER LOVED A MAN (THE WAY I LOVED YOU) ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1967
7 CHAIN OF FOOLS ARETHA FRANKLIN 37 1967
8 YOU SEND ME ARETHA FRANKLIN N/A 1968
10 UNTIL YOU COME BACK TO ME (THATS WHAT I'M GONNA DO) ARETHA FRANKLIN 26 1973

©2018 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

Article image: Rex