The ‘80s: The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin’s “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”

In 1985, the pop/rock duo The Eurythmics, comprised of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, teamed up with “The Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, and recorded the hit single “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves,” a hard-hitting, empowering anthem “to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state.” The tune, which included elements of the Motown sound, was recorded in Franklin’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan at United Sound Systems, the recording studio that pumped out tunes from Charlie Parker, John Lee Hooker, and Funkadelic.  In the U.K., the song made it to the top 10, and in the states it peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on the dance chart.

aretha_eurythmics“Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” was released on both artists’ albums with each turning out to be hugely successful. The Eurythmics’ album, Be Yourself Tonight, was a global smash, going #1 in Australia and hitting the top 10 pretty much everywhere else in the world.  Along with “Sisters,” it also included the singles “Would I Lie To You?” and “There Must Be An Angel (Playing with My Heart).”  In addition to Franklin’s appearance, the album also included appearances from Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers members Stan Lynch, Benmont Tench, and Mike Campbell.

Franklin’s album, Who’s Zoomin’ Who, proved to be an enormous hit as well. Most of the album was produced by Narada Michael Walden and featured the single “Freeway of Love,” which topped the R&B and dance charts and peaked at #3 on the Hot 100, while also earning Franklin a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The album’s title track fared relatively well too, topping the dance chart and hitting the top 10 on the pop, R&B, and adult contemporary charts.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at www.cdbaby.com/cd/montrose, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

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