DON’T PLAY THAT SONG | ARETHA FRANKLIN is not an Aretha Franklin original. The song was written by Ahmet Ertegun and Betty Nelson, the wife of soul singer Ben E. King. It was first recorded by King and was the title track on his third album Don’t Play That Song! (1962). The song reached number 2 on the U.S. R&B singles chart and number 11 on the pop chart when released as a single on Atco Records in 1962. In Europe, it ranked at #10 in Italy on FIMINational Charts between 1962 and 1963.
Aretha Franklin covered the song for her nineteenth studio album, Spirit in the Dark, released on Atlantic Records in 1970. Her version, performed with the Dixie Flyers, was released as a single in 1970 and peaked at number 1 for five weeks on the R&B singles chart and number 11 on the pop chart.Franklin’s version was certified gold with sales over a million copies. It reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. This was the first of two covers Franklin did of songs made popular by King. The other was her cover of “Spanish Harlem” in 1971.