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Remember When Reba Covered Aretha Franklin at the 1988 CMA Awards?

The soul side of Reba's music was largely influenced by Aretha Franklin, who she honored with a 1988 performance on the CMA Awards.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Remember When Reba Covered Aretha Franklin at the 1988 CMA Awards?
Aretha Franklin, Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage; Reba McEntire, Photo credit: Andrew Wendowski

Country superstar Reba McEntire is one of the thousands grieving the loss of soul singer Aretha Franklin, who passed away from cancer this morning. Today, the redheaded hitmaker shared a video from the 1988 CMA Awards where she performed Franklin’s smash hit, “Respect.”

Dolly Parton introduced the performance, emphasizing Franklin’s profound impact on McEntire’s career. “The only lady to win the Female Vocalist award four times in a row. Her style has been influenced by such great people as Patsy Cline and even Merle Haggard. But when it comes to the soul part of her singing, she says her main influence has been Aretha Franklin and you’re gonna see what I mean right now,” said Parton before welcoming Reba to the stage.

Donning a sparkly green top, black pants and her infamous big hair, Reba hit the stage with a power packed performance. Complete with two backup singers and her band, the singer strutted across the stage belting a countrified version of Franklin’s famed lyrics: “I ain’t gonna do you wrong while you’re gone / Ain’t gonna do you wrong cause I don’t wanna / All I’m askin’ / Is for a little respect when you come home.”

Aretha Franklin Reba McEntire

Aretha Franklin, Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage; Reba McEntire, Photo credit: Andrew Wendowski

Reba had previously released a cover of the song on her self-titled album, released earlier that year. While the tribute was a dedication to one of her biggest influences, it was met by harsh criticism from critics.

The singer posted video of the iconic 1988 performance after learning of the passing of Franklin early Thursday morning.

“I’ve had so many influences in my life, and one of them is the Queen of Soul. Rest In Peace, Aretha. I’ll sing this one for you,” she wrote with the clip.

Franklin died at the age of 76 in her home in Detroit, MI. The Memphis native had long-since battled pancreatic cancer, before succumbing to the disease in the early morning hours. She is best known for her songs  “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” and “Think,” and earned 18 GRAMMY Awards throughout the course of her career.