A previously unheard solo version of Aretha Franklin’s “Never Gonna Break My Faith”, featuring the Boys Choir of Harlem, has been released on Juneteenth.

The song, about race and faith, was originally released as a duet between Franklin and Mary J. Blige for the 2006 movie “Bobby”.

Bryan Adams, who co-wrote the track, said in a statement: “When I wrote this song, I was channelling Aretha, never thinking that she’d ever actually sing 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,” he added, according to Rolling Stone.

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“When the song was demo’d, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this — and sing it she did. This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard [Sony Music’s Creative Officer and longtime producer and 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.”

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Franklin, who died in August 2018, sings in the chorus: “You can lie to a child with a smiling face/Tell me that colour ain’t about a race. You can cast the first stone, you can break my bones/But you’re never gonna break/You’re never gonna break my/Faith and hope ain’t yours to give/Truth and liberty are mine to live/Steal a crown from a king, break an angel’s wings/But you’re never gonna break, never gonna break my faith.”

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