28 Best Songs About Respect (of All Time)

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Powerful Songs about Respect 

In a world where respect is sometimes in short supply, music can remind us of its importance and inspire us to treat ourselves and others with kindness, dignity, and understanding. 

Today we’re serving up 28 of the very best songs about respect and self worth, including both songs with a message around respect and songs with respect in the title. This list includes artists such as Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and many more. 

This compilation combines phenomenal songs about respect, from powerful anthems to heartfelt ballads. 

These songs offer unique perspectives on the theme of respect and showcase the transformative power of music in our lives.


1. Respect – Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s iconic hit “Respect” was released in 1967 and quickly became an anthem for the civil and women’s rights movements.

The song emphasizes the importance of respect and dignity in relationships, with the powerful vocals of the Queen of Soul driving home the message.

Aretha’s version, a cover of Otis Redding‘s original, takes on new meaning, focusing on female empowerment and demanding respect from others.

2. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s soulful and introspective classic, “What’s Going On,” was released in 1971.

The song is a plea for understanding and respect between people and a call for social justice and unity in the face of societal problems.

Gaye’s heartfelt lyrics and smooth vocals make this song a timeless reminder of our world’s need for respect and empathy.

3. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” was released in 1988 as part of his “Bad” album.

This powerful song encourages listeners to look within themselves and make positive changes, showing respect for themselves and others.

With a strong message of self-reflection, “Man in the Mirror” has become one of Jackson’s most beloved and impactful songs.

4. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

“Beautiful,” released in 2002 by Christina Aguilera, is a powerful ballad that promotes self-respect and self-love.

The song’s message is about embracing your unique qualities and learning to respect and appreciate yourself for who you are.

Aguilera’s stunning vocals and the song’s empowering lyrics have resonated with fans worldwide, making “Beautiful” an enduring anthem of self-acceptance.

5. Imagine – John Lennon

John Lennon’s timeless classic “Imagine,” released in 1971, is a song that encourages people to envision a world where peace, unity, and respect for one another are the guiding principles.

The simple yet profound lyrics of “Imagine” call for a world free from conflict and prejudice, where people come together and treat each other with dignity and respect.


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6. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s powerful rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” originally written by Dolly Parton, was released in 1992.

The song is about the respect and love that can exist even when a romantic relationship ends. Houston’s incredible vocals and the song’s heartfelt message have made it one of the most iconic love songs ever.

7. One Love – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “One Love” was released in 1977 and has become synonymous with love and respect for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs.

With its upbeat reggae rhythm and positive lyrics, “One Love” is a reminder of the importance of unity and respect in a divided world.

8. Born This Way – Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s empowering anthem, “Born This Way,” was released in 2011 and is about embracing and respecting one’s unique identity.

The song encourages listeners to be proud of who they are and to respect and accept others for their differences.

“Born This Way” celebrates individuality and self-respect that resonates with fans worldwide.

9. Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert

“Same Love,” released in 2012 by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, is a powerful song advocating for marriage equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

The song’s message is love, acceptance, and respect for people of all orientations and identities. Its poignant lyrics and heartfelt performances by all artists involved have made “Same Love” a significant anthem for the LGBTQ+ community.

10. Respect Yourself – The Staple Singers

The Staple Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” released in 1971, is a soulful and uplifting song with a strong message about self-respect and self-worth.

The song’s lyrics encourage listeners to value themselves and demand respect from others. “Respect Yourself” is an empowering anthem that resonates with listeners today.

11. We Are the World – U.S.A. for Africa

“We Are the World,” recorded in 1985 by the supergroup U.S.A. for Africa, is a charity single that promotes global unity and respect.

The song’s lyrics emphasize the importance of coming together to help those in need and recognizing our shared humanity.

With an all-star lineup of singers and musicians, “We Are the World” remains a powerful reminder of our world’s need for respect and compassion.

12. Lean on Me – Bill Withers

Bill Withers’ classic “Lean on Me,” released in 1972, is a heartfelt song about the importance of friendship, support, and mutual respect.

The song’s message is one of relying on each other in times of need, offering a helping hand, and showing respect for the struggles and challenges that others face.

“Lean on Me” continues to be an anthem of friendship and solidarity.

13. Black or White – Michael Jackson

“Black or White,” released in 1991, is another powerful song by Michael Jackson that promotes unity and respect among people of all races and backgrounds.

The song’s catchy beat and positive message encourage listeners to look beyond superficial differences and embrace the commonalities that unite us.

14. You Gotta Be – Des’ree

Des’ree’s uplifting and empowering song “You Gotta Be,” released in 1994, encourages listeners to be strong, wise, and loving in their approach to life.

The song’s message is one of self-respect, personal growth, and treating others with kindness and understanding. “You Gotta Be” is a timeless anthem for emotional resilience and respect.

15. True Colors – Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper’s touching ballad “True Colors,” released in 1986, is a song about friendship, support, and acceptance.

The lyrics emphasize the importance of showing one’s true self and respecting each person’s unique qualities. “True Colors” continues to be a beloved anthem of self-acceptance and respect for others.

16. Not Ready to Make Nice – The Chicks

“Not Ready to Make Nice,” released in 2006 by the The Chicks, is a powerful song about standing up for one’s beliefs and demanding respect.

The song, written in response to the band’s backlash for expressing their political views, has become a rallying cry for those who refuse to be silenced or disrespected.

17. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

R.E.M.’s emotional and introspective song “Everybody Hurts,” released in 1992, reminds everyone to experience pain and struggles in life.

The song’s message is one of empathy, understanding, and respect for the feelings and experiences of others.

“Everybody Hurts” encourages listeners to offer support and kindness to hurting people, promoting a sense of shared humanity.

18. This is Me – Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman)

“This is Me,” performed by Keala Settle for the 2017 film “The Greatest Showman,” is an inspiring and empowering song about embracing one’s uniqueness and demanding respect.

The anthem’s message is self-acceptance, courage, and standing tall in adversity. “This is Me” has become a beloved anthem for those who refuse to be defined by others’ expectations.

19. Fight Song – Rachel Platten

Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song,” released in 2015, is an empowering anthem about finding inner strength and standing up for oneself.

The song’s message is self-respect, determination, and resilience in facing challenges. “Fight Song” encourages listeners to believe in themselves and demand the respect they deserve.

20. Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys’ powerful and inspiring “Girl on Fire,” released in 2012, celebrates the strength and resilience of women.

The song’s message is empowerment, self-respect, and triumph over adversity. “Girl on Fire” has become a beloved anthem for women everywhere who refuse to be held back by societal expectations or limitations.

21. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King

Carole King’s timeless classic “You’ve Got a Friend,” released in 1971, is a heartfelt song about friendship, support, and the importance of treating others with respect and kindness.

The song’s comforting lyrics remind listeners that true friends are there for one another through thick and thin, providing a foundation of love and respect.

22. All You Need is Love – The Beatles

The Beatles’ iconic song “All You Need is Love,” released in 1967, is a simple yet powerful reminder of the importance of love and respect in our lives.

The song’s uplifting message encourages listeners to prioritize love and understanding in their relationships, promoting unity and harmony.

23. Unpretty – TLC

TLC’s “Unpretty,” released in 1999, is a poignant song about self-image, self-respect, and the pressures of societal beauty standards.

The song encourages listeners to look beyond superficial appearances and focus on inner beauty, promoting a sense of self-worth and respect for oneself and others.

24. The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby and the Range

Bruce Hornsby and the Range’s 1986 hit, “The Way It Is,” is a poignant song that addresses issues of social inequality and the importance of respect for all individuals.

The song encourages listeners to challenge the status quo and work towards a more inclusive and respectful society.

25. Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara

Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful,” released in 2015, is an empowering anthem about self-acceptance and self-respect.

The song’s message encourages listeners to embrace their imperfections and recognize their inner beauty, promoting a healthy sense of self-worth and respect for oneself and others.

26. Rise Up – Andra Day

Andra Day’s inspiring song “Rise Up,” released in 2015, is a powerful anthem about resilience, determination, and self-respect.

The song’s message encourages listeners to overcome adversity and continue moving forward, standing tall in the face of challenges and demanding the respect they deserve.

27. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder’s uplifting and reassuring song “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” released in 1973, is a reminder to focus on the positive aspects of life and to treat oneself and others with respect and kindness.

The song’s catchy melody and optimistic message have made it a beloved classic that resonates with listeners today.

28. Wings – Little Mix

Little Mix’s “Wings,” released in 2012, is an empowering and upbeat song about self-confidence, self-respect, and overcoming negativity.

The song encourages listeners to believe in themselves, stand up to those who try to bring them down and demand the respect they deserve.

Summary: Songs About Respect 

This compilation of 28 incredible songs about respect showcases the diverse ways artists have explored and celebrated this essential theme. 

From timeless classics to modern anthems, these songs remind us of the importance of treating ourselves and others with dignity, empathy, and understanding. 

As you listen to these powerful tunes, let their messages inspire you to embrace and promote respect in your own life.

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Thomas Smith
As Visionary and Chief Editor of 122BPM, Thomas is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of music pioneers. With a degree in Music and 10 years industry experience, Thomas is now shaping 122BPM as the central hub for music and audio education.
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