A previously unreleased version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ has been released to mark Juneteenth.
June 19 marks the day when slavery came to an end in the US in 1865, with the final slaves in Texas being emancipated.
The track was originally released as a duet with Mary J. Blige in 2006 as part of the soundtrack for the movie Bobby. The version released today only features The Boys Choir of Harlem and Franklin, who sings lines including: “You can lie to a child with a smiling face/ Tell me that colour ain’t about a race.” Listen to it below now.
‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ was written by Bryan Adams, who had the solo version of the track on his computer for nearly 15 years. “When the song was demoed, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this – and sing it she did,” he said in a statement.
“This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive [Davis, chief creative at Sony Music] 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. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”
In 2019, Franklin won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for her contributions to American music and culture. She was the first individual woman to be honoured with the award since the ceremony began in 1930.
One of her defining hits, ‘Respect’, was released in 1967 and became an anthem of both the feminist and civil rights movements.