A never-before-heard solo version of the Aretha Franklin's duet with Mary J Blige, "Never Gonna Break My Faith," has been released by RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings to celebrate Juneteenth. This new rendition features background vocals from the Boys Choir of Harlem.
Released on Friday, commemorating the day in 1865 when all enslaved African-Americans were told they were free, "Never Gonna Break My Faith" resonates with the uprisings against police brutality and systemic racism today, including lyrics, "My Lord, won’t you help them to understand/That when someone takes the life of an innocent man/Well they’ve never really won, and all they’ve really done/Is set the soul free, where it’s supposed to be.”
Originally released in 2006, the Grammy Award-winning song was co-written by Bryan Adams for the movie Bobby.
“When I wrote this song, I was channeling Aretha, never thinking that she’d ever actually sing the song,” Adams said in a statement. “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."
"When the song was demo’d, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this — and sing it she did," he added. "This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard [Sony Music’s Creative Officer and longtime friend of Franklin] Clive [Davis] was making a film on Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world hasn’t heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”
“Never Gonna Break My Faith” won Best Gospel performance at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008, marking Franklin’s 18th and final Grammy win.