Sony RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings released the song on Friday, June 19, aligning with the public holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all the black slaves learned they had been freed from slavery.
“Never Gonna Break My Faith, finds an echo today, with lyrics like: “you can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that the color is not a race.”
“The world is very different now. Change is everywhere and in each one of us, hopefully, to do the best he can to move forward and make change as positive as possible,” Clive Davis, Sony Music’s chief creative officer, and Franklin’s close friend and collaborator, said in a statement.
Dozens of artists have released new songs detailing the Black experience in the midst of the global protests sparked by the recent death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others. Some artists have released covers of protest anthems or re-released older songs that resonate with the time, such as “Never Gonna Break My Faith.”
The lyrics of the song are: “My Lord, will not help you to understand/That when someone takes the life of an innocent man/Well they never really won, and all they have really done/Is set the soul free where it’s supposed to be.”
The call of Franklin’s performance “cooling,” Davis told the words of the song and the relevance “will shake every fiber of your body.”
“Everyone should hear this record,” said mr. Davis. “He deserves to be an anthem.”
“Never Gonna Break My Faith” has won the best gospel performance at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, marking Franklin’s 18th and final Grammy win. She died in 2018, at the age of 76 years.
The song was originally featured in the film “Bobby,” about the U.S. Father Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination, and features the backing vocals of the Boys Choir of Harlem.
“This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was to make a film about Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world has not heard its full performance, and it really needed to be heard,” Grammy-winning singer Bryan Adams, who co-wrote the song, said in a statement. “I’m so glad that it is being released, the world needs this right now”.
Stream “Never Gonna Break My Faith” below.