A previously unreleased version of Aretha Franklin’s Never Gonna Break My Faith has been dropped to mark the 155th anniversary of the end of slavery in America.
Franklin originally recorded the track, which was written by Bryan Adams, as a duet with Mary J. Blige in 2006 as part of the soundtrack for the movie Bobby. On Friday a new version was released via RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings as part of America’s Juneteenth celebrations.
Adams revealed Franklin’s solo version of the tune had been stored on his computer for years. “When I wrote this song, I was channelling Aretha,” Adams said in a statement.
Adams explained the meaning behind the song: “The thought was to write a hymn, something that would try and articulate the feeling of faith, and that even though you might have lost something, there would always be an inner light to guide you.”
The newly released recording features the late Queen of Soul singing with The Boys Choir of Harlem. Lyrics include the lines: “You can lie to a child with a smiling face/ Tell me that colour ain’t about a race.”
Adams said he sent the recording to Sony Music’s Creative Officer Clive Davis after he heard the producer was making a film about Franklin’s life, adding that the song’s updated release was timely: “The world hasn’t heard (Franklin’s) full performance and it really needed to be heard. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”