20 June 2020
Yorkshire’s Songwriter to the Stars sees his Aretha Franklin hit become ‘an Anthem’ for our Times
A 2006 song co-written by Sheffield’s Grammy-winning Eliot Kennedy and rock star Bryan Adams has been re-released and claimed as “an anthem” of our times.
‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ was written by the duo for the film, Bobby, as a duet between Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige winning Aretha Franklin her final Grammy.
Eliot Kennedy said: “This song that I co-wrote with Bryan Adams was originally for a powerful movie about the death of Bobby Kennedy. It was written with an artist like Aretha in mind, though neither Bryan or I ever dreamed she would sing it. But she was quoted as saying she had to sing it, as it was the best lyric that she had read in over 20 years. That is going to go on my headstone!”
2020’s re-release is a never heard before solo version featuring Aretha Franklin and the Boys Choir of Harlem. The story behind the song’s re-release has featured in Rolling Stone magazine, as the song looks set to become a global viral hit.
Bryan Adams sent the version that he said had been “sitting on his computer for years” to Sony Music’s Creative Officer and long-time friend of Franklin’s, Clive Davis.
Artists across the world have released songs in response to the global protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, covering protest anthems and older songs that resonate with the times. Clive Davies hailed Franklin’s voice on ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ as “chilling” saying the song’s lyrics and relevance “will shake every fibre in your body.” He added: “Everyone should hear this record. It deserves to be an anthem.”
The solo version of ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ was dropped on 19 June by Sony’s RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings to coincide with the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed.
The song resonates today, featuring 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.”
Eliot added: “It has been the honour of my life to have written a song for the best voice that ever lived, and now to have it released as a theme of our times and the song to hopefully give faith to those during these challenging times, is truly beyond honour. It is my best work, and I am so happy people get to hear it as it should have been with Aretha Franklin singing the song on her own.”
Kennedy, who has penned hit records for Take That, The Spice Girls and Celine Dion, met Bryan Adams over 20 years ago.
Eliot recalled: “The funny thing is I’d gone to see Bryan at a gig the night before in Sheffield Arena, just because I was a fan. The next morning, I was in the supermarket doing my food shopping and my mobile phone went, and he said its Bryan Adams here. I didn’t believe him. He said, no it’s Bryan Adams, I really love your Spice Girls record and do you want to get together and have a cup of tea. To be able to be a bona fide co-writer with one of my idols was a huge deal.”
The first hit the pair co-wrote was ‘Baby When You’re Gone’ released in 1998 featuring Adams and Mel C. The pair went on to write the title song to Celine Dion’s massive hit album, ‘Let’s Talk About Love’, with 33 million copies sold word-wide, it is one of the best-selling albums in history.
Kennedy, a local hero in his hometown Sheffield, is famed for performing charity gigs and raising funds for good causes close to his heart. He said: “Music gives you access to people’s humanity; you can actually do incredible things with that. That’s a really powerful tool.”
To see the re-released version of ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ go to: https://youtu.be/c6C-dZPAmbg