“I Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer” is a song that is quite simple in its approach. And it is being relayed from what is logically a romantic perspective. That is the addressee is the romantic interest of the singer. And in fact she is very much in love.

By virtue of this, no matter what time of the day it is or what she may be doing, she will “say a little prayer” for her sweetheart. And it may be that she is asking for his good fortune in general. But for specifically, as illustrated in the outro, what she actually wants is for this individual to love her just as much as she loves him. To put it differently, she wants to be the recipient of his ‘true love’.

So it may be a situation where she is fantasizing about being with the addressee but not actually involved with him yet. Or it can be a situation where they are already a couple, and she is petitioning for his undying devotion. But either way, the dominating sentiment is that she cares, particularly from a romantic perspective, very much for this individual.

Lyrics of "I Say a Little Prayer"

Quick Facts about “I Say a Little Prayer”

“I Say a Little Prayer” was originally recorded and released by Dionne Warwick in 1967. It performed well in its own right, particularly in the United States.

Aretha Franklin’s (1942-2018) version was released on 14 June 1968. It was the second song from her album “Aretha Now”. 

That same year it was also featured on “Aretha’s Gold”, which was a Aretha Franklin compilation album. And in that regard, it was released as the B-side to the only single issued from that project, which was entitled “The House That Jack Built”. In both instances, the song was published by Atlantic Records.

“I Say a Little Prayer” actually went on to perform better than “The House That Jack Built”. For instance, in addition to peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, it also charted in Africa, Oceania and Europe, including scoring a number 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

“I Say a Little Prayer” has also been certified Gold in the United States.

Moreover upon Aretha Franklin passing away in 2018, the song popped up on music charts in France, Sweden and Switzerland.

She used a R&B group called The Sweet Inspirations, headed by Cissy Houston, as her backup singers. At first they all just used the song for practice while working on Aretha’s album but later decided to record it. Their rehearsing with it was likely due to the fact that The Sweet Inspirations also served as Dionne Warwick’s backups on her version of “I Say a Little Prayer” (on top of The Sweet Inspirations reportedly having been on the verge of dropping their own rendition).

Did Aretha Franklin write “I Say a Little Prayer”?

No. “I Say a Little Prayer” was written by the duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who actually wrote quite a few hits together.

And Jerry Wexler served as the track’s producer.

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