Success at Atlantic
The First Hits
Jerry Wexler's instincts about Aretha were on target. When he returned to New York after the one-day recording session in Muscle Shoals, Jerry knew he had a hit single on his hands. He began to distribute copies of “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)” to radio disc jockeys. The song was an instant radio sensation.
Aretha's sisters Carolyn and Erma flew to New York to help her finish recording “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” By overdubbing (layering one sound track over another), Aretha was able to play both the piano part and the organ part for the song. Combined with the vocal power of the three Franklin sisters, the track was another hit. “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” was released as the B-side of “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You).”
The single sold 250,000 copies in its first two weeks of release. Only weeks later it would become Aretha's first million-selling single. The song hit the top ten of the pop charts, and rode at the top of the R & B charts at the same time.
Aretha had more hits ready to be recorded. She reworked “Respect,” a song written by singer Otis Redding. Otis Redding was another Atlantic artist produced by Jerry Wexler, and he was one of Atlantic's most successful stars, making a big impression with his brand of soul music.