"Respect Yourself" is the name of a classic soul song by American R&B/gospel group The Staple Singers. Released in late 1971 from their album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, the song became a crossover hit. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and reached #2 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. It is one of the groups most recognizable hits. In 2002, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and in 2004 it was ranked #462 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song was written by Luther Ingram, a Stax Records singer, and Mack Rice, a Stax house songwriter. Ingram, who was frustrated with the state of the world at the time, told Rice "black folk need to learn to respect themselves." Rice liked the comment so much that he built a funk groove around it, then gave the song to the Staples, who were also signed to Stax. Producer Al Bell teamed the group with the storied Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, musicians who laid down classic tracks for Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, and with engineer/musician Terry Manning for vocals, overdubs, and mixing, in Memphis. The song had resonance for a burgeoning self-empowerment movement for African-Americans during the post-civil-rights-movement 1970s, as well as women demanding more respect during those same years, but the message had a universal and inspirational appeal.
"Respect Yourself" has been covered numerous times, including but not limited to the following: