Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Queen Has Entered The Kingdom

We lost a legend today.  Aretha Franklin, who has provided the soundtrack to many of our lives, has passed at the age of 76 at her home in Detroit, Michigan. 

I watched Soul Train every Saturday for most of my life - the first episode aired in 1970, the last in 2006.  I don't remember a Saturday morning without the Soul Train line.  In the video above, from a December 1979 episode dubbed "A Salute To Aretha Franklin", Don Cornelius switches it us and asks Aretha if she knows any Smokey Robinson songs. She proceeds to play "Ooo Baby Baby" with Smokey jumping in, making it a duet.  Most artists are honored to have Aretha cover their songs, but as many find out, once Aretha does one of your songs, it becomes hers. 

Here are some of my favorite Aretha songs:

Ain't No Way

Day Dreaming - this is probably my top favorite.  It  "He's the kind of guy that would say, 'Hey, baby let's get away, let's go some place, huh, where, I don't care'..."

Until You Come Back To Me - "I guess I'll rap on your door, tap on your window pane."

Here's another arrangement of Until You Come Back To Me - recorded live, in Canada, in 1978.  Upbeat, sassy, and fantastic.

Something He Can Feel - "
I'm givin him somethin he can feel.  
To let him know this love is real."  So soulful.  So Aretha.  En Vogue did a super sexy version of this song in the 90s - I don't know who's sexier in this video, the girls on the stage or the guys in the audience.  Oh my my.  Great song.    

I Say A Little Prayer - "The moment I wake up. Before I put on my makeup. I say a little prayer for you. "

You Are All I Need To Get By - "
Like the sweet morning dew, I took one look at you,

And it was plain to see, you were my destiny."

Aretha has sung songs in all genres, from her start in gospel, to the time she stepped in for Pavarotti and did Nessun Dorma.  The Queen of Soul does Opera.

In 2015, Aretha sang You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman, in tribute to the song's co-writer, Carole King,  who was receiving the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement.  The entire crowd, including President Obama, his wife Michelle, Carole King, Clive Davis, rose to their feet as she belted out this classic.  Aretha was 73 years old when she brought the house down.
Aretha also performed at Barack Obama's 2009 Inauguration - to the largest inaugural crowd in history - she marked the occasion by singing "My Country "Tis of Thee".  Estimated at 1.8 million people, it was generally considered a record for the number of people on the National Mall. The hat almost stole the show.
Many people consider Aretha's music to be part of their life's soundtrack.  I certainly do, as many of her songs, I first heard in my youth.  She's a true legend.

And she's left a rich legacy that'll take us through the rest of our lives.

And that certainly warrants R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2017: Dreary Weather Surrounds The Pin Stripe
2016: Circa 1980
2015: A Tornado Dreams Of Wide Open Space Like This
2014: The End Of Day
2013: Until I'm One With You
2012: I Didn’t Even Have To Slip Him My Room Key
2011: Rest Comes For Robo-Ed
2010: Better Than A Leg Press Machine. Or How To Get A Good Looking Left Gam.
2009: How Can I Tread On You When I Can’t Even Turn Around?
2008: Popping Good Time
2007: Touching Down For A Quick Rest Break
2006: Follow Your Heart
2005: All About The Benjamins

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