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Aretha Franklin Sings About Faith, Race in 'Chilling' Newly Released Recording

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A never-before-heard solo version of the late Aretha Franklin’s powerful collaboration with Mary J. Blige about faith and race, 2006’s “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” has arrived.

Sony’s RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings released the song on Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 when African-American slaves learned they had been freed from bondage.

Lyrics from the song include: “For those we lose before their time/I pray their souls will find the light/I know that they day will surely come/When His will, His will, will be done.”

“The world is very different now. Change is everywhere and each of us, hopefully, is doing the best he or she can to move forward and make change as positive as possible,” Clive Davis, Sony Music’s chief creative officer and Franklin’s close friend and collaborator, said in a statement.

Many artists have released songs about race amid the global protests sparked by the recent death of George Floyd.

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“Never Gonna Break My Faith” features lyrics like: “You can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that color ain’t about a race/You can cast the first stones, you can break my bones/But you’re never gonna break/You’re never gonna break my faith.”

Calling Franklin’s performance “chilling,” Davis said the song’s lyrics and relevance “will shake every fiber in your body.”

“Everyone should hear this record,” Davis said. “It deserves to be an anthem.”

“Never Gonna Break My Faith” won Best Gospel Performance at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, marking Franklin’s 18th and final Grammy win. She died in 2018 at age 76.

Will you be listening to this song?

The song was originally featured in the film “Bobby” about U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy‘s 1968 assassination, and features background vocals from The Boys Choir of Harlem.

“This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was making a film on Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world hasn’t heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard,” Grammy-winning singer Bryan Adams, who co-wrote the song, said in a statement.

“I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”


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