On this day in music history: January 20, 1968…

On this day in music history: January 20, 1968 – “Chain Of Fools” by Aretha Franklin hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 4 weeks, also peaking at #2 for 2 weeks on the same date. Written by Don Covay, is the fourth R&B chart topper for the “Queen Of Soul”. “Chain Of Fools” is originally written for Otis Redding when producer Jerry Wexler asks Covay to write something for Redding. Upon hearing Covay’s demo, Wexler decided that it would be better suited for Aretha Franklin, rather than Otis. Franklin records her version on June 23, 1967 at Atlantic Studios in New York City with members of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, sax player King Curtis, and background vocals by Aretha’s sisters Erma and Carolyn Franklin, The Sweet Inspirations and songwriter Ellie Greenwich. The track also features guitarist Joe South who adds the songs’ memorable opening guitar riffs to the intro after the initial recording is completed. In its original form, “Chain Of Fools” runs nearly four and a half minutes, then considered far too long to be released as a single. Engineer Tom Dowd skillfully edits and remixes the song down to a more radio friendly length, even moving the verses and choruses around to give them a tighter structure than the way they were originally recorded. Released in late November of 1967, the song is an instant smash. “Chain” is Franklin’s fourth single to top the R&B singles chart in just ten months. “Chain Of Fools” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.