Aretha Franklin Bridge Over Troubled Water Download

  1. Aretha Franklin Songs Bridge Over
'Bridge over Troubled Water'
Single by Simon & Garfunkel
from the album Bridge over Troubled Water
B-side'Keep the Customer Satisfied'
ReleasedJanuary 20, 1970
RecordedNovember 9, 1969
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
  • Paul Simon
Simon & Garfunkel singles chronology
'The Boxer'
'Bridge over Troubled Water'
Music video
'Bridge over Troubled Water' (audio) on YouTube
Audio sample
'Bridge over Troubled Water'

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'Bridge over Troubled Water' is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. Produced by the duo and Roy Halee, the song was released as the follow-up single to 'The Boxer' in January 1970. The song is featured on their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Composed by singer-songwriter Paul Simon, the song is performed on piano and carries the influence of gospel music. The original studio recording employs elements of Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound' technique using L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew.[1][2]

It was the last song recorded for their fifth and final album, but the first fully completed.[3] The song's instrumentation was recorded in California while the duo's vocals were cut in New York.[3][4][5][6] Simon felt his partner, Art Garfunkel, should sing the song solo, an invitation Garfunkel initially declined but later accepted.[7] Session musician Larry Knechtel performs piano on the song, with Joe Osborn playing bass guitar and Hal Blaine closing out the song with drums. The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, including Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

The song became Simon & Garfunkel's biggest hit single, and it is often considered their signature song. It was a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks, and it also topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and New Zealand. It was a top five hit in eight other countries as well, eventually selling over six million copies worldwide, making it among the best-selling singles. It became one of the most performed songs of the twentieth century, with over 50 artists, among them Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, covering the song. It was ranked number 48 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

  • 4Charts and certifications
  • 5Covers
    • 5.7Artists for Grenfell Tower charity single
  • 6Notes


'Bridge over Troubled Water' was composed by Paul Simon very quickly, so much so that he asked himself, 'Where did that come from? It doesn't seem like me.' [7] The title lyric was inspired by Claude Jeter's line 'I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me,' which Jeter sang with his group, the Swan Silvertones, in the 1958 song 'Mary Don't You Weep.'[8] According to gospel producer and historian Anthony Heilbut, Simon acknowledged his debt to Jeter in person, and handed Jeter a check.[9] Simon wrote the song initially on guitar but transposed it to the piano to better reflect the gospel influence and suit Garfunkel's voice.[3]

Simon told his partner, Art Garfunkel, that Garfunkel should sing it alone, the 'white choirboy way'.[7] Garfunkel felt it was not right for him;[3] he liked Simon's falsetto on the demo and suggested that Simon sing. At the suggestion of Garfunkel and producer Roy Halee, Simon wrote an extra verse and a 'bigger' ending, though he felt it was less cohesive with the earlier verses.[10] The final verse was written about Simon's then-wife Peggy Harper, who had noticed her first gray hairs ('Sail on, silvergirl').[11][12] It does not refer to a drug abuser's hypodermic needle, as is sometimes claimed.[13] The verse was Garfunkel's idea, but Simon has never cared for it.[14]

'Bridge over Troubled Water' was the final track to be recorded for the album but the first completed, with an additional two weeks of post-production.[3] Simon initially composed the song in G major, but arranger and composer Jimmie Haskell transposed the song to E-flat major to suit Garfunkel's voice.[15] The song was recorded in California, to make it easier for Garfunkel to go to Mexico to film Catch-22.[6] Simon wanted a gospel piano sound, and hired session musician Larry Knechtel. Joe Osborn played the two bass guitars, one high and the other low. A horn section rounded off the song. The drums were played by Hal Blaine in an echo chamber to achieve a hall effect and Los Angeles session percussionist Gary Coleman played the Vibraphone. The arranger, Jimmy Haskell, labeled the string arrangement as 'Like a Pitcher of Water'.[16]

Simon and Garfunkel returned to New York to record the vocals.[17][4][3] The vocal style in 'Bridge over Troubled Water' was inspired by Phil Spector's technique in 'Old Man River' by The Righteous Brothers.[18] After two months the song was finished. Simon said it sounded like the Beatles' 'Let It Be', stating in a Rolling Stone interview: 'They are very similar songs, certainly in instrumentation.'[19]

As their relations frayed preceding their 1970 breakup, Simon began to feel jealous that he allowed Garfunkel to sing it solo:

He felt I should have done it, and many times on a stage, though, when I'd be sitting off to the side and Larry Knechtel would be playing the piano and Artie would be singing 'Bridge', people would stomp and cheer when it was over, and I would think, 'That's my song, man..'[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

Despite the song's five-minute length, Columbia decided to service 'Bridge Troubled Water' to pop radio. Bob Dylan had previously landed a song past the three-minute barrier on AM radio with 'Like a Rolling Stone' in 1965, which played into Columbia's decision.[20] It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970, and stayed at the top of the chart for six weeks. 'Bridge over Troubled Water' also topped the adult contemporary chart in the US for six weeks.[21]Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1970.[22]

The song was certified gold for over one million copies in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America,[23] and the song has sold over six million copies worldwide, making it among the best-selling singles.[24][25]


The single won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in the Grammy Awards of 1971, with its album also winning several awards in the same year.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1970–71)Peak
Australia (ARIA)[26]2
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[27]4
Canada 100 (RPM)[28]1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[29]1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[30]23
France (SNEP)[31]1
Germany (Official German Charts)[32]3
Ireland (IRMA)[33]2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[34]5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[35]1
Norway (VG-lista)[36]7
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[37]4
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[38]2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39]5
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[40]1
US Billboard Hot 100[41]1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[42]1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1970)Rank
Australia [43]5
Canada [44]1
Netherlands [45]30
US Billboard Hot 100[46]1


RegionCertificationCertified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[23]Platinum2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

US chart performance[edit]

'Bridge over Troubled Water' entered the Billboard Hot 100 top 40 at no.13 on February 9, 1970. It jumped to no.3 the following week before climbing to no.1.During a six week run at the top – the most for any single that year – Simon and Garfunkel held off strong competition from Creedence Clearwater Revival ('Travelin' Band') and The Jaggerz ('The Rapper'). Then, on April 11, the song fell to no.5 – replaced by The Beatles' 'Let It Be'. 'Bridge over Troubled Water' concluded a 13 week run in the US top 40 on 9 May as their follow-up hit 'Cecilia' began its rise to no.4.

UK chart performance[edit]

As in the US, 'Bridge over Troubled Water' made its UK top 40 bow at no.13, on February 28, 1970. The song climbed steadily over the next four weeks before claiming no.1 on March 28. During a three week stay at the top, it held off strong competition from Mary Hopkin with 'Knock, Knock Who's There?' and 'Can't Help Falling In Love' by Andy Williams.Then, on April 18, the song fell to no.2 – replaced by 'All Kinds of Everything' by Dana.In total, 'Bridge over Troubled Water' spent seventeen weeks in the UK top 40 (concluding on June 27).


'Bridge over Troubled Water' has been covered by over 50 artists,[47] including Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson. Merry Clayton recorded a version in gospel style on her 1970 album Gimme Shelter.[48] A cover recorded by Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple for Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around album was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2003.[49]

Aretha Franklin[edit]

Aretha Franklin's gospel-inspired cover version was released in March 1971 on Atlantic 45-2796 and reached number one on the US R&B chart and number six on the pop chart.[50] The single was certified gold by the RIAA selling two million copies and later won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in the 1972 awards. The single is 3:18 in length. The longer studio version, 5:31 in length, that appears on numerous compilations was first released on Franklin's 1971 compilation Aretha's Greatest Hits. Her version was included on Greatest Moments, Volume III: Various Artists. Franklin also debuted her version at the 1971 Grammy Awards.

Peggy Lee[edit]

Peggy Lee recorded the song in early 1970 for her album of the same name, released in April 1970 by Capitol Records. [51]

Elvis Presley[edit]

Elvis Presley recorded it in Nashville on June 5, 1970, and it was released on the 1970 album That's the Way It Is (with a false audience fade-out). He included it in his set list for his next engagement in Las Vegas, which included the filming of the 1970 documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is,[52] and the song was included in the original theatrical release (included version is from the August 11 dinner show). During that summer season in Vegas, Paul Simon attended one of the shows, and, after seeing Elvis perform the song, he was reported to have said, 'That's it, we might as well all give up now.'[53] Presley continued to use this song throughout his live performances, including his final live appearance in Indianapolis on June 26, 1977. Another live performance was seen in the Golden Globe-winning documentary Elvis on Tour, filmed at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, on April 14, 1972. Elvis even sang it at one of his Madison Square Garden Shows back in June 1972.

On the studio version, Robert Matthew Watson wrote in his book Heartbreak Hotel: 'Presley's outstanding singing is not disguised. This is a fabulous version, burning with sincerity and power, and finding depths not revealed by the composers.'

Linda Clifford[edit]

'Bridge over Troubled Water'
Single by Linda Clifford
from the album Let Me Be Your Woman
B-side'Hold Me Close'
Format7' single
Length4:08(7' version)
10:20(Album version)
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
Producer(s)Gil Askey

Linda Clifford, Curtis Mayfield's protegee signed on his Curtom label, released an up-tempo disco version of 'Bridge over Troubled Water' on her album Let Me Be Your Woman in March 1979. This epic version (10:20 in length) was produced by Gil Askey (jazz trumpet player and musical director for many Motown acts) and mixed by Jimmy Simpson, brother of Valerie Simpson from Ashford and Simpson. The song has two originalities, the first one being a 132 bpm tempo (considered the ideal tempo for disco dancing) when the Simon and Garfunkel original is 82 bpm and Aretha Franklin's cover is 76 bpm. It was the first time that this song was covered with a fast tempo. It also has a highly original 'Brazilian cuica on a disco beat' break. It became a US disco #11, pop #41, R&B #49 and UK #28.[54]

Cantonese version[edit]

A rewriting of the song with Cantonese lyrics ('Many hearts prevail' – zh:滔滔千里心) was collectively sung by many Hong Kong singers for public shows in Hong Kong to raise funds after the Eastern China flood of 1991. In 2009 it was also used in the Artistes 88 Fund Raising Campaign for the victims of Typhoon Morakot.[55]

Dami Im version[edit]

Dami Im covered this song during the Family Heroes-themed sixth live show of the fifth season of Australian X Factor on September 29, 2013.[56] Im's performance of the song debuted at number 15 on the Australian Singles Chart. Im later released a version of the song on her self-titled album,[57] which debuted at number 1 in Australia, and was certified Platinum.[58]

Artists for Grenfell Tower charity single[edit]

'Bridge over Troubled Water'
Single by Artists for Grenfell
ReleasedJune 21, 2017
RecordedJune 2017
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon

To raise money for the families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and for The London Community Foundation, Simon Cowell arranged the recording and release of a charity single on June 21, 2017.[59] London-born grime artist Stormzy featured prominently, having written a fresh 16-line intro to the song which specifically referenced the tragedy. The recording reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on June 23, 2017.[60]


The song was performed by the following artists (in order of appearance):[59]


  • Dan Smith (of Bastille)
  • Kelly Jones (of Stereophonics)
  • Roger Daltrey (of The Who)
  • Carl Barât (of The Libertines)
  • Deno
  • Gareth Malone and The Choir for Grenfell
  • Jon McClure (of Reverend and The Makers)
  • Tony Hadley (of Spandau Ballet)


  • Brian May (of Queen) – guitar
  • Nile Rodgers – guitar
  • Tokio Myers – piano
  • Pete Townshend (of The Who) – guitar


Chart (2017)Peak
Australia (ARIA)[61]53
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[62]32
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[63]26
Finland Download (Latauslista)[64]23
France (SNEP)[65]111
Hungary (Single Top 40)[66]31
Ireland (IRMA)[67]25
New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)[68]4
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[69]1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[70]28
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[60]1

Other notable covers[edit]

  • The Supremes recorded the song for New Ways but Love Stays (1970), their second studio album by the Jean Terrell-led post Diana Ross-incarnation of the Supremes.
  • Buck Owens and the Buckaroos covered the song in 1971. The version reached the top 10 of the BillboardHot Country Singles chart in March 1971.
  • Roberta Flack covered the song on her album Quiet Fire (1971).
  • BeBe & CeCe Winans covered the song in 1988 for their album Heaven, which was released as a promo single in 1989.
  • In 1991, P.J.B. featuring Hannah and Her Sisters, a US group assembled by Pete Bellotte and fronted by British singer Hannah Jones, released a dance cover which reached number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.[71]
  • Willie Nelson covered the song in the closing ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.[72]
  • In 2002, Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple covered the song for Cash's album American IV: The Man Comes Around. This version was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2003.
  • In 2005, Anthony Callea covered the song as part of a double A-sided single with 'Rain'. It reached number one in Australia.
  • Mary J. Blige, David Foster, and Andrea Bocelli performed the song on January 31, 2010, during the 52nd Grammy Awards ceremony, in the context of raising awareness for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.[73] This version reached number 75 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
  • On December 9, 2013, Tessanne Chin covered the song on season 5 of NBC's singing competition The Voice for the semifinal round. The song went to the number one spot on iTunes within 12 hours, with her becoming the first contestant to achieve the top chart position at the end of an applicable voting window that season.[74]
  • 'A Bridge over You', a charity single recorded and released independently by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, the choir of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust located in south-east London, was a mashup of 'Bridge over Troubled Water' by Simon & Garfunkel and Coldplay's 2005 single 'Fix You', with additional arrangement by the choir's conductor, Peter Mitchell. It reached number one on the UK Singles Chart at Christmas 2015.



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  2. ^Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN978-1-250-03046-7.
  3. ^ abcdefEliot 2010, p. 104.
  4. ^ abBrowne 2012, p. 30.
  5. ^Eliot 2010, p. 61.
  6. ^ abEliot 2010, p. 111.
  7. ^ abcdEliot 2010, p. 105.
  8. ^Sisario, Ben. 'Claude Jeter, Gospel Singer With Wide Influence, Dies at 94 ', The New York Times, January 10, 2009. Accessed January 11, 2009.
  9. ^Hinckley, David (January 8, 2009). 'Legendary singer Claude Jeter dies'. New York Daily News. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  10. ^Kingston, Victoria, Simon and Garfunkel: the Definitive Biography, Sidgwick & Jackson, UK, 1996 p.101-02
  11. ^Dawidoff, Nicholas (May 12, 2011). 'Paul Simon's Restless Journey'. Rolling Stone (1130): 60–61.
  12. ^Dawidoff, Nioclas (August 25, 2011). 'Paul Simon's Restless Journey'. Rolling Stone India. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  13. ^Bennighof 2007, p. 43.
  14. ^'Simon and Garfunkel, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' 500 Greatest Songs of All Time'. Rolling Stone. April 7, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  15. ^Ebel 2004, pp. 58–60.
  16. ^Giles Smith (September 11, 1994). 'Lives of the great songs / Bridge over troubled water'. The Independent. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  17. ^Ebel 2004, p. 61.
  18. ^'Across America Promotional CD Interview With Art'. Art Garfunkel Official Website. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
  19. ^Browne 2012, p. 154.
  20. ^Eliot 2010, p. 106.
  21. ^Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  22. ^Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970
  23. ^ ab'American single certifications – Simon & Garfunekl – Bridge over Troubled Water'. Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
  24. ^Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2, illustrated ed.). Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN0-214-20480-4.
  25. ^Moore-Gilbert, Bart (March 11, 2002). The Arts in the 1970s: Cultural Closure. Routledge. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
  26. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water'. ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  27. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water' (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  28. ^RPM (March 14, 1970). 'Adult Contemporary – Volume 13, No. 4, March 14 1970'(PDF). RPM archives. (Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada). Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  29. ^RPM (March 14, 1970). 'Top Singles – Volume 13, No. 4, March 14 1970'(PDF). RPM archives. (Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada). Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  30. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water' (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  31. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water' (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  32. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water'. GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  33. ^'Chart Track: Week 5, 1970'. Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  34. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water' (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  35. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water'. Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  36. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water'. VG-lista. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  37. ^Brian Currin. 'South African Rock Lists Website – SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (S)'. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  38. ^' – Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water'Canciones Top 50. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
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  43. ^'Australian Chart Book'. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
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  45. ^'Jaaroverzichten – Single 1970' (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
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  47. ^Charlesworth 1997, p. 49.
  48. ^'Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter'. Discogs.
  49. ^Eliot 2010, pp. 103, 164.
  50. ^Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 215.
  51. ^[1]
  52. ^'YouTube'. YouTube. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  53. ^Eliot, Marc (2010). Paul Simon: A Life. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. p. 105. ISBN9780470900871.
  54. ^Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 60.
  55. ^'Artists raise fund in HK for Taiwan flood victims'.
  56. ^Hardie, Giles (September 29, 2013). 'Minogue reduced to tears on X Factor'. The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  57. ^Hung, Steffen. 'Discography Dami Im'. Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  58. ^'ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Albums'. Archived from the original on February 5, 2014.
  59. ^, Rebecca Lewis for (June 20, 2017). 'Simon Cowell's Grenfell Tower charity single available from 8am on June 21'. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  60. ^ ab'Official Singles Chart Top 100'. Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  61. ^'ARIA Chart Watch #427'. auspOp. July 1, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  62. ^' – Artists for Grenfell – Bridge Over Troubled Water' (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  63. ^' – Artists for Grenfell – Bridge Over Troubled Water' (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  64. ^'Artists for Grenfell: Bridge Over Troubled Water' (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  65. ^'Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 25, 2017)' (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  66. ^'Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ' (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  67. ^'IRMA – Irish Charts'. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  68. ^'NZ Heatseekers Singles Chart'. Recorded Music NZ. June 26, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  69. ^'Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100'. Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  70. ^' – Artists for Grenfell – Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  71. ^'Ultimate Music Database'. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  72. ^Wise, Mike (February 25, 2002). 'OLYMPICS: CLOSING CEREMONY; Games End With a Mixture Of Rowdy Relief and Joy'.
  73. ^Rodriguez, Jayson (February 1, 2010). 'Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli Brought 'Heavy Emotion' To Grammy Duet For Haiti'. MTV.
  74. ^'Archived Document'. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.


  • Eliot, Marc (2010). Paul Simon: A Life. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN978-0-470-43363-8.
  • Fornatale, Pete (2007). Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends. Rodale. ISBN978-1-59486-427-8.

External links[edit]

  • Video recording of 'Bridge over Troubled Water' on YouTube, Paul Simon, composer; sung by Art Garfunkel
  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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Karaoke Version >Soul > Aretha Franklin > Bridge Over Troubled Water

This title is a cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water as made famous by Aretha Franklin

Tempo: variable (around 78 BPM)

In the same key as the original: B♭

This song ends without fade out

Duration: 5:33 - Preview at: 2:37

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