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One of Aretha Franklin’s greatest covers was a Canadian classic

Melody Lau

Aretha Franklin’s discography of music is filled with classics, some of them original and some incredible covers. Among those covers is one Canadian classic: The Band’s 1968 song, “The Weight.”

Off their iconic debut album, Music From Big Pink, “The Weight” was written by Robbie Robertson about a journey through the town of Nazareth, with the memorable chorus: “Take a load off fanny/ take a load for free.” It peaked at number 63 on the U.S. charts.

A year after the song and album’s release, Franklin re-recorded it, transforming it into a soul number complete with a rousing chorus of backup singers and bright bursts of horns. (The Allman Brothers Band’s Duane Allman plays lead slide guitar on this cover.) While both versions are fairly well-known now, it was Franklin’s that charted higher, peaking at number 19 on the U.S. charts.

Listen to both versions below. Which one is your favourite? Or, share other great takes on “The Weight” with us on @CBCMusic.


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