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Franklin, Aretha 1942–

Aretha Franklin 1942

Singer, songwriter

Birth of a Gospel Singer

Marriage of Gospel and Pop

Earning RESPECT

A Period of Decline

The Queen Is Still On

Selected works

Sources

When asked by Patricia Smith of the Boston Globe how she felt about being called the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklins reply was characterized by grace but no false modesty. Its an acknowledgment of my art, she mused. It means I am excelling at my art and my first love. And I am most appreciative. Since she burst onto the public consciousness in the late 1960s with a batch of milestone recordings, Franklin has served as a standard against which all subsequent soul divas have been measured.

The combination of Franklins gospel roots and some devastating life experiences have invested her voice with a rareand often wrenchingauthenticity. It was like I had no idea what music was all about until I heard her sing, confessed singer-actress Bette Midler, as cited in Ebony. Though Franklins work in ensuing decades has rarely matched the fireor the sales figuresof her most celebrated singles, she has remained an enduring presence in contemporary music. The release of several CD retrospectives in the 1980s and 1990s, her 1999 autobiography, and her celebrated 2003 tour seemed to guarantee that her influence would continue unabated.

Birth of a Gospel Singer

Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. She was raised in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of famed minister C. L. Franklin and gospel singer Barbara Franklin, who left the family when Aretha was small and died shortly thereafter. She was the absolute lady, the Queen of Soul told Ebonys Laura B. Randolph, while at the same time admitting that her memories of her mother are few. For his part, the Reverend Franklin was no retiring clergyman; indeed, he enjoyed the popularity and, to some degree, the lifestyle of a pop star. He immediately recognized his daughters prodigious abilities, offering to arrange for piano lessons; the child declined, instead teaching herself to play by listening to records.

Franklins talent as a singer was such that her father took her on the road with his traveling gospel show. She sang regularly before his congregation at Detroits New Bethel Baptist Church as well, and it was there that her performance of Precious Lord, among other gospel gems, was captured for posterity. She was 14 years old but already a spellbinding performer. Producer Jerry Wexlerwho shepherded Franklin to

At a Glance

Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, TN; daughter of Clarence L (a Baptist minister) and Barbara Franklin (a gospel singer); married Ted White (a businessman and music manager), 1961 (divorced); married Glynn Turman (an actor), 1978 (divorced, 1984); children: Clarence, Edward, Teddy Richards, Kecalf Cunningham.

Career: Performed with fathers touring revue, recorded gospel music for Chess label, 1950s; singer and songwriter, 1960-; Columbia Records, recording artist, 1960-67; Atlantic Records, recording artist, 1967-80; actress, 1980-; Arista Records, recording artist, 1980-.

Awards: 15 Grammy awards, including 1995 lifetime achievement award; honorary Doctor of Law degree, Bethune-Cookman College, 1974; American Music Award, 1984; Ebony magazine, American Black Achievement Award, 1984; declared natural resource of home state of Michigan, 1985; first woman inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1987; Entertainment Weekly magazine, named one of the greatest entertainers of the twentieth century, 1999; Black Entertainment Television (BET), Walk of Fame Award, 2003.

Addresses: Record company Arista Records, 6 West 57th St., New York, NY 11019; 9975 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

greatness on behalf of Atlantic Records some years laterwas stunned by the 1956 recording. The voice was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant [a priest in ancient Greece], he recalled in his book Rhythm and the Blues.

Franklins life was no church social, however. She became a mother at age 15 and had her second child two years later. I still wanted to get out and hang with my friends, she recollected to Ebonys Randolph, so I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But my grandmother helped me a lot, and my sister and my cousin. They would babysit so I could get out occasionally.

Though she was first and foremost inspired by gospel musicthe performance of Peace in the Valley by family friend Clara Ward at a funeral was a seminal influence on her desire to singFranklin soon became interested in non-religious music. Rather than dissuade her from this secular path, as some might have expected, her father encouraged her. In 1960 she traveled to New York, embarked on vocal and dance lessons, and hired a manager. She then began recording demonstration tapes.

Marriage of Gospel and Pop

While the R&B stars of Detroits Motown label won a crossover, or white, audience by tempering their wicked grooves with a playful elegance, their southern counterparts never bothered to tone down the raw physicality of the music. Like singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles, who has often been credited with the invention of soul music, Franklin brought the fire of gospel to pop music, her spiritual force in no way separated from her earthy sexuality.

Celebrated Columbia Records executive John Hammond was so taken by Franklins recordings that he signed her immediately. Her first Columbia album was issued in the fall of 1960. While a few singles made a respectable showing on the charts, it was clear that the label wasnt adequately showcasing her gifts, either in its choice of material or production. I cherish the recordings we made together, remarked Hammond in Rhythm and the Blues, but, finally, Columbia was a white company [that] misunderstood her genius.

Franklins manager at the time, Ted White, was also her husband; they agreed that she should pursue other options when her contract expired. Wexler leapt at the opportunity to sign her to Atlantic; he originally intended to send her to Memphis to record with the staff of the legendary Stax/Volt studios, whod already made landmark recordings with the likes of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Wexler himself had his hands full with other projects, but the task of producing Franklins first Atlantic sides ultimately fell to him, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd.

Wexler brought Franklin to the Florence Alabama Music Emporium (FAME) studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record with a unique group of musicians adept in soul, blues, pop, country, and rock. This able crew was stunned by Franklins power and prowess. Accompanying herself on piano, she deftly controlled the tone and arrangement of the songs she performed; this was an integral part of Wexlers strategy to capture her natural brilliance on tape. Backing vocals were provided either by her sisters Carolyn and Erma or by the vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, which featured Cissy Houston, mother of future singing star Whitney Houston. Wexler also brought in young rock lions like guitarists Duane Allman and Eric Clapton for guest spots.

Unfortunately, only one of two songsI Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)was finished when White and one of the musicians had a drunken row. White grabbed Franklin and they vanished for a period of weeks. Wexler balanced jubilation with anxiety; radio programmers around the country embraced I Never Loved a Man, and distributors clamored for an album, but the artist was nowhere to be found. At last she surfaced in New York, where she completed the unfinished Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; in Wexlers words, the result was perfection.

Earning RESPECT

Franklins first album for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), was released in 1967, and several hit-filled LPs followed. During this crucial period she enjoyed a succession of smash singles that included I Never Loved a Man, the rollicking Baby I Love You, the pounding groove Chain of Fools, the supercharged Think, which she wrote, the tender, anthemic (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman, and a blistering take on Otis Reddings Respect. The latter two would become Franklins signature songs. With Natural Woman, according to the Boston Globes Smith, She gathers broken women in the circle of her arms, stitches our wounds with a wondrous thread.

Franklins version of Respect, coming as it did at a crucial point for black activism, feminism, and sexual liberation, was particularly potent. Wexler noted that Franklin took Reddings more conventional take on the song and turned it inside out, making it deeper, stronger, loading it with double entendres. Whats more, he noted, The fervor in Arethas magnificent voice implied not just everyday respect but sexual attention of the highest order, as implied by the sock it to me backup chorus she and her sisters devised.

Writer Evelyn C. White, in an Essence piece, referred to Respect as a revolutionary force in her own life. Franklins impassioned, soulful licks and sly innuendos about sexual pleasure made me feel good about myself, she wrote, both as a black American and as a young girl about to discover sex. Eventually, the song would become an American pop standard; its spelling out of the title word would be referenced in countless articles and commercials. At the time of its release, however, it served primarily as a fight song for social change. It scored two trophies at that years Grammy Awards.

Franklins voice was crucial to the soundtrack of the era, and not just as a record playing on the radio. Franklins father was a close friend of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and as a result, she herself was close to King and his family. When the crusading minister was assassinated in 1968, Franklin was enlisted to sing at his funeral. Wexler described her performance of Precious Lord as a holy blend of truth and unspeakable tragedy.

Franklin also sang the National Anthem at the Democratic Partys riot-marred 1968 convention in Chicago. Yet even as her soulful wail soothed a number of difficult national transitions and transformations, Franklins own changes were hidden from view. I think of Aretha as Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows, Wexler wrote. Her eyes are incredible, luminous eyes covering inexplicable pain. Her depressions could be as deep as the dark sea. I dont pretend to know the sources of her anguish, but anguish surrounds Aretha as surely as the glory of her musical aura.

Despite her inner turmoil, Franklin enjoyed phenomenal commercial success during these years. A number of other blockbuster Atlantic albums followed her debut on the label, and she proceeded to take home Grammys every year between 1969 and 1975. Still, she did not rest on her laurels; rather, she constantly explored rock and pop records for new material and recorded cover versions of songs by the Beatles, Elton John, the Band, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. She didnt think in terms of white or black tunes, or white or black rhythms, noted Wexler. Her taste, like her genius, transcended categories.

In 1972 Franklin sang at the funeral of gospel giant Mahalia Jackson, which suggested her stature in the gospel world; it was no surprise when Amazing Grace, an album of church music she recorded with Wexler, soared up the pop charts that year. At the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, she provided an a capella rendition of God Bless America.

A Period of Decline

Having parted ways with husband/manager Ted White some years earlierstories circulated in the press charging that hed struck her in publicFranklin married actor Glynn Turman in 1978. They divorced some six years later. By the end of the 1970s, her record sales had dwindled, but she took an attention-getting turn in the Blues Brothers movie, in which she both acted and sang; the film and the Blues Brothers albums, recorded by Saturday Night Live funnymen and blues and soul fanatics Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, helped fuel a new mainstream interest in 1960s soul.

In 1980 Franklin elected to leave Atlantic and sign with Arista Records; the labels slick production and commercial choice of material earned greater sales than she had enjoyed for some time, particularly for the single Freeway of Love. She earned three more Grammys during the decade. Nonetheless, Dave DiMartino of Entertainment Weekly groused that most of her hits at Arista have been assembled by big-name producers like Narada Michael Walden and might have easily featured another singer entirelylike, say, label mate Whitney Houston. DiMartino also objected to the relentless pairing of Franklin with other stars for much-hyped duets, remarking, Like Aretha Franklin needs a gimmick? Most critics agree that Franklins 1980s recordings do not stand up to her earlier or her later work.

In 1979 Franklins father was shot by a burglar in his home and fell into a coma. He died several years later, having never regained consciousness. As Ebonys Randolph wrote, When youve said as many goodbyes as Aretha, its impossible not to be palpably shaped by loss. The singer cited a point during her fathers hospitalization as the most difficult decision of her life. We had to have a trach [a tracheotomy, a procedure that involves cutting through the vocal chords], she confided, and we were afraid it would affect his voice, which was certainly his living.

The Queen Is Still On

Despite the difficulties of the early 1980s, further triumphs lay ahead for Franklin. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance in 1988, and was the subject of an all-star documentary tribute broadcast on public television. She also sang at the inauguration of president Bill Clinton in 1993 and 1997, and won a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1995. Franklin might not have been the commercial powerhouse that some of her younger acolytes, like Houston and Mariah Carey, had become, but when she appeared in the VH1 television program Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin in 2001, she confirmed that she truly was one of the great entertainers of the century.

Franklin moved back to the Detroit area in the mid-1990s and began to assert more control over her musical career. She announced her intention to start a record label, which would be called World Class Records. Im looking for space, she told the Boston Globe. Im the CEO. With her new label she was able to promote the musical careers of her sons, Kecalf Cunningham, Eddy Richards, and Teddy Richards.

In 1998 Franklin released a new album, A Rose Is Still a Rose. With tracks produced by rising stars Sean Puffy Combs (later known as P. Diddy) and Lauryn Hill, the album showed that Franklin could keep up with current hip-hop sounds. Critics hailed the album as her best effort in many years, and she followed it in 2003 with So Damn Happy, which featured collaborations with contemporary stars Mary J. Blige and Troy Taylor, and music veterans like Burt Bacharach. Though the albums proved that Franklin could keep up with musical trends, what made them stand out was the thing that had always made Franklin great: her voice. The producers seemed to understand what Franklins fan always knew: that her voice was a natural treasure.

Franklin had always performed occasionally, but in 2003 she set out on an extensive tour to sold-out dates across the country. Though many wondered if The Queen Is On tour would be her last, Franklin told Jet:

Im going to always be singing. Singing is definitely my thing.

Selected works

Discography

The Great Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1960.

The Electrifying Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962.

The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962.

Aretha Franklins Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1967.

I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You) (includes I Never Loved a Man [the Way I Love You], Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, Baby I Love You, and Respect), Atlantic, 1967.

Aretha Arrives (includes [You Make Me Feel Like a] Natural Woman and Chain of Fools), Atlantic, 1967.

Take a Look, Columbia, 1967.

Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha Now, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha in Paris, Atlantic, 1968.

Soul 69, Atlantic, 1969.

Arethas Gold, Atlantic, 1969.

This Girls in Love with You, Atlantic, 1970.

Spirit in the Dark, Atlantic, 1970.

Aretha Live at Fillmore West, Atlantic, 1971.

Young, Gifted and Black, Atlantic, 1972.

Amazing Grace, Atlantic, 1972.

The Beginning/The World of Aretha Franklin 1960-1967, Columbia, 1972.

Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), Atlantic, 1973.

Let Me in Your Life, Atlantic, 1974.

Everything I Feel in Me, Atlantic, 1975.

Ten Years of Gold, Atlantic, 1977.

Sweet Passion, Atlantic, 1977.

Almighty Fire, Atlantic, 1978.

La Diva, Atlantic, 1979.

Aretha, Arista, 1980.

Jump to It, Arista, 1982.

Get It Right, Arista, 1984.

Whos ZoominWho? (includes Freeway of Love), Arista, 1985.

Aretha, Arista, 1987.

Love All the Hurt Away, Arista, 1987.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, Arista, 1988.

Through the Storm, Arista, 1989.

What You See Is What You Sweat, Arista, 1991.

Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings, Atlantic, 1992.

Greatest Hits: 1980-1994, Arista, 1994.

A Rose Is Still a Rose, Arista, 1998.

So Damn Happy, Arista, 2003.

Films

The Blues Brothers, 1980.

Blues Brothers 2000, 1998.

Recordings with other artists

Curtis Mayfield, Sparkle (soundtrack), 1976.

Think, The Blues Brothers (soundtrack), 1979.

JumpinJack Flash, JumpinJack Flash (soundtrack), 1986.

George Michael, I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me), Columbia, 1987.

If I Lose, White Men Cant Jump (soundtrack), EMI, 1992.

All Men Are Brothers: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, 1994.

Television

Aretha, 1986.

Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, 1988.

Duets, 1993.

Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin, VH1, 2001.

Writings

Aretha: From These Roots (autobiography; with David Ritz), Villard, 1999.

Sources

Books

Gourse, Leslie, Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul, F Watts, 1995.

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Werner, Craig Hansen, Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul, Crown, 2004.

Wexler, Jerry, and David Ritz, Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music, Knopf, 1993.

Periodicals

Billboard, February 28, 1998, pp. 13-14.

Boston Globe, June 14, 1991, p. 39; March 21, 1994, p. 30; September 29, 1995, p. 55.

Detroit Free Press, June 10, 1994, p. 3D; June 18, 1994, p. 2A.

Ebony, April 1995, pp. 28-33; August 1998, pp. 90-93.

Entertainment Weekly, May 15, 1992, p. 64; Nov. 1, 1999, p. 81.

Essence, August 1995, pp. 73-77.

Jet, August 21, 1995, p. 33; May 18, 1998, pp. 60-65; September 29, 2003, pp. 58-64.

Newsweek, October 4, 1999, p. 68.

Time, March 2, 1998, p. 78; September 22, 2003, p.70.

Simon Glickman and Tom Pendergast

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Franklin, Aretha 1942—

Aretha Franklin 1942

Singer, songwriter

Gospel Roots

Collaborations Launched Career

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Triumphed Despite Turmoil

Selected discography

Sources

When asked by Patricia Smith of the Boston Globe how she felt about being called the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklins reply was characterized by grace but no false modesty. Its an acknowledgment of my art, she mused. It means I am excelling at my art and my first love. And I am most appreciative. Since she burst onto the public consciousness in the late 1960s with a batch of milestone recordings, Franklin has served as a standard against which all subsequent soul divas have been measured.

The combination of Franklins gospel roots and some devastating life experiences have invested her voice with a rareand often wrenchingauthenticity. It was like I had no idea what music was all about until I heard her sing, confessed singer-actress Bette Midler, as cited in Ebony. Though Franklins work in ensuing decades has rarely matched the fireor the sales figuresof her most celebrated singles, she has remained an enduring presence in contemporary music. The release of several CD retrospectives and the announcement in 1995 that she would publish an autobiography and start her own record label seemed to guarantee that her influence would continue unabated.

Franklin was raised in Detroit, the daughter of famed minister C. L. Franklin and gospel singer Barbara Franklin, who left the family when Aretha was small and died shortly thereafter. She was the absolute lady,the Queen of Soul told Ebony s Laura B. Randolph, while at the same time admitting that her memories of her mother are few. For his part, the Reverend Franklin was no retiring clergyman; indeed, he enjoyed the popularity and, to some degree, the lifestyle of a pop star. He immediately recognized his daughters prodigious abilities, offering to arrange for piano lessons; the child declined, instead teaching herself to play by listening to records.

Gospel Roots

Franklin s talent as a singer was such that her father took her on the road with his traveling gospel show. She sang regularly before his congregation at Detroits New Bethel Baptist Church as well, and it was there that her performance of Precious Lord, among other gospel

At a Glance

Born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, TN; daughter of Clarence L. Franklin (a Baptist minister) and Barbara Franklin (a gospel singer); married Ted White (a businessman and music manager), 1961 (divorced); married Glynn Turman (an actor), 1978 (divorced, 1984); children; Clarence, Edward, Teddy Richards, Kecalf Cunningham.

Performed with fathers touring revue, recorded gospel music for Chess label, 1950s; signed with Columbia Records and released debut album The Great Aretha Franklin, 1960; signed with Atlantic Records and released/ Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), 1967; performed at funeral of Rev, Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968; performed at Democratic National Convention, 1968; performed at inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, 1977; appeared in film The Blues Brothers, 1980; signed with Arista Records and released Aretha, 1980; appeared in television specials Aretha/ 1986, Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, 1988, and Duets, 1993; performed at inauguration of President Sill Clinton, 1993; signed contract with Villard publisherfor autobiography, 1995.

Awards: 15 Grammy awards, including 1995 lifetime achievement award; honorary Doctor of Law degree, Bethune-Cookman College, 1974; American Music Award, 1984; American Black Achievement Award, Ebony magazine, 1984; declared natural resource of home state of Michigan, 1985; inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1987.

Addresses: Record company Arista Records, 6 West 57th St., New York, NY 11019; 9975 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

gems, was captured for posterity. She was 14 years old but already a spellbinding performer. Producer Jerry Wexlerwho shepherded Franklin to greatness on behalf of Atlantic Records some years laterwas stunned by the 1956 recording. The voice was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant [a priest in ancient Greece], he recalled in his book Rhythm and the Blues.

Franklins life was no church social, however. She became a mother at age 15 and had her second child two years later. I still wanted to get out and hang with my friends, she recollected to Ebonys Randolph, so I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But my grandmother helped me a lot, and my sister and my cousin. They would babysit so I could get out occasionally.

Though she was first and foremost inspired by gospel musicthe performance of Peace in the Valley by family friend Clara Ward at a funeral was a seminal influence on her desire to singFranklin soon became interested in non-religious music. Rather than dissuade her from this secular path, as some might have expected, her father encouraged her. In 1960 she traveled to New York, embarked on vocal and dance lessons, and hired a manager. She then began recording demonstration tapes.

While the R&B stars of Detroits Motown label won a crossover, or white, audience by tempering their wicked grooves with a playful elegance, their southern counterparts never bothered to tone down the raw physicality of the music. Like singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles, who has often been credited with the invention of soul music, Franklin brought the fire of gospel to pop music; her spiritual force in no way separated from her earthy sexuality.

Collaborations Launched Career

Celebrated Columbia Records executive John Hammond was so taken by Franklins recordings that he signed her immediately. Her first Columbia album was issued in the fall of 1960. While a few singles made a respectable showing on the charts, it was clear that the label wasnt adequately showcasing her gifts, either in its choice of material or production. I cherish the recordings we made together, remarked Hammond inRhythm and the Blues, but, finally, Columbia was a white company [that] misunderstood her genius.

Franklins manager at the time, Ted White, was also her husband; they agreed that she should pursue other options when her contract expired. Wexler leapt at the opportunity to sign her to Atlantic ; he originally intended to send her to Memphis to record with the staff of the legendary Stax/Volt studios, whod already made landmark recordings with the likes of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. Wexler himself had his hands full with other projects, but the task of producing Franklins first Atlantic sides ultimately fell to him, Arif Mardin, and TomDowd.

Wexler brought Franklin to the Florence Alabama Music Emporium (FAME) studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record with a unique group of musicians adept in soul, blues, pop, country, and rock. This able crew was stunned by Franklins power and prowess. Accompanying herself on piano, she deftly controlled the tone and arrangement of the songs she performed; this was an integral part of Wexlers strategy to capture her natural brilliance on tape. Backing vocals were provided either by her sisters Carolyn and Erma or by the vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, which featured Cissy Houston, mother of future singing star Whitney Houston. Wexler also brought in young rock lions like guitarists Duane Allman and Eric Clapton for guest spots.

Unfortunately, only one of two songsI Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)was finished when White and one of the musicians had a drunken row; White grabbed Franklin and they vanished for a period of weeks. Wexler balanced jubilation with anxiety; radio programmers around the country embraced I Never Loved a Man, and distributors clamored for an album, but the artist was nowhere to be found. At last she surfaced in New York, where she completed the unfinished Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; in Wexlers words, the result was perfection.

Franklins first album for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man [the Way I Love You), was released in 1967r; several hit-filled LPs followed. During this crucial period she enjoyed a succession of smash singles that included I Never Loved a Man, the rollicking Baby I Love You, the pounding groove Chain of Fools, the supercharged Think, which she wrote, the tender, anthemic (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman, and a blistering take on Otis Reddings Respect. The latter two would become Franklins signature songs. With Natural Woman, according to the Boston Globes Smith, She gathers broken women in the circle of her arms, stitches our wounds with a wondrous thread.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Franklins version of Respect, coming as it did at a crucial point for black activism, feminism, and sexual liberation, was particularly potent. Wexler noted that Franklin took Reddings more conventional take on the song and turned it inside out, making it deeper, stronger, loading it with double entendres. Whats more, he noted, The fervor in Arethas magnificent voice implied not just everyday respect but sexual attention of the highest oçder, as implied by the sock it to me backup chorus she and her sisters devised.

Writer Evelyn C. White, in an Essence piece, referred to Respect as a revolutionary force in her own life. Franklins impassioned, soulful licks and sly innuendos about sexual pleasure made me feel good about myself, she wrote, both as a black American and as a young girl about to discover sex. Eventually, the song would become an American pop standard; its spelling out of the title word would be referenced in countless articles and commercials. At the time of its release, however, it served primarily as a fight song for social change. It scored two trophies at that years Grammy Awards.

Franklins voice was crucial to the soundtrack of the era, and not just as a record playing on the radio. Franklins father was a close friend of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and as a result, she herself was close to King and his family. When the crusading minister was assassinated in 1968, Franklin was enlisted to sing at his funeral. Wexler described her performance of Precious Lord as a holy blend of truth and unspeakable tragedy.

Franklin also sang the National Anthem at the Democratic Partys riot-marred 1968 convention in Chicago. Yet even as her soulful wail soothed a number of difficult national transitions and transformations, Franklins own changes were hidden from view. I think of Aretha as Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows, Wexler wrote. Her eyes are incredible, luminous eyes covering inexplicable pain. Her depressions could be as deep as the dark sea. I dont pretend to know the sources of her anguish, but anguish surrounds Aretha as surely as the glory of her musical aura.

Despite her inner turmoil, Franklin enjoyed phenomenal commercial success during these years. A number of other blockbuster Atlantic albums followed her debut on the label, and she proceeded to take home Grammys every year between 1969 and 1975. Still, she did not rest on her laurels; rather, she constantly explored rock and pop records for new material and recorded cover versions of songs by the Beatles, Elton John, the Band, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. She didnt think in terms of white or black tunes, or white or black rhythms, noted Wexler. Her taste, like her genius, transcended categories.

In 1972 Franklin sang at the funeral of gospel giant Mahalia Jackson, which suggested her stature in the gospel world; it was no surprise when Amazing Grace, an album of church music she recorded with Wexler, soared up the pop charts that year. At the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, she provided an a capella rendition of God Bless America.

Triumphed Despite Turmoil

Having parted ways with husband/manager Ted White some years earlierstories circulated in the press charging that hed struck her in publicFranklin married actor Glynn Turman in 1978. They divorced some six years later. By the end of the 1970s, her record sales had dwindled, but she took an attention-getting turn in the Blues Brothers movie, in which she both acted and sang; the film and the Blues Brothers albums, recorded by Saturday Night Live funnymen and blues and soul fanatics Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, helped fuel a new mainstream interest in 1960s soul.

In 1980 Franklin elected to leave Atlantic and sign with Arista Records; the labels slick production and commercial choice of material earned greater sales than she had enjoyed for some time, particularly for the single Freeway of Love. She earned three more Grammy s during the decade. Nonetheless, Dave DiMartino of Entertainment Weekly groused that most of her hits at Arista have been assembled by big-name producers like Narada Michael Walden and might have easily featured another singer entirelylike, say, label mate Whitney Houston; DiMartino also objected to the relentless pairing of Franklin with other stars for much-hyped duets, remarking, Like Aretha Franklin needs a gimmick?

In 1979 Franklins father was shot by a burglar in his home and fell into a coma. He died several years later, having never regained consciousness. As Ebonys Randolph wrote, When youve said as many goodbyes as Aretha, its impossible not to be palpably shaped by loss. The singer cited a point during her fathers hospitalization as the most difficult decision of her life. We had to have a trach [a tracheotomy, a procedure that involves cutting through the vocal chords], she confided, and we were afraid it would affect his voice, which was certainly his living.

But beyond this and other painful incidents, further triumphs lay ahead for Franklin. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance, was the subject of an all-star documentary tribute broadcast on public television, sang at the inauguration of another president, Bill Clinton, in 1993, and won a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1995. Franklin might not have been the commercial powerhouse that some of her younger acolytes, like Houston and Mariah Carey, had becomefilmmaker Ron Shelton had to fight to get her on the soundtrack of his White Men Cant Jump but she had become an institution; the title of Queen seemed even more appropriate as she eased into her 50s.

Franklinwho moved back to the Detroit area in the mid-1990sannounced plans for an autobiography in 1995 and also made public her intention to start a record label, which would be called World Class Records. Im looking for space, she told theBos ton Globe. Im the CEO. She continued to perform, her band by that time featuring two of her sons, Kecalf Cunningham and Teddy Richards.

Other projects, including film and television appearances, were also in the works. I just strive for excellence pretty much across the board, whether its as a producer, songwriter or singer, Franklin proclaimed toBoston Globe writer Smith. I give people what I feel is best, not just what everyone says is hot. I want to do things that are going to be meaningful and inspiring to them one way or another. Asked by theDetroit Free Pressiî she ever got tired of singing Respect, the Queen of Soul replied, Actually, no. I just find new ways of refreshing the song. Similarly, Franklins voiceforged in pain and exaltation, spirit and sensualitycontinues to refresh new listeners.

Selected discography

The Great Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1960.

The Electrifying Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962.

The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Fran klin, Columbia, 1962.

Aretha Franklins Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1967.

I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You) (includes I Never Loved a Man [the Way I Love You], Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, Baby I Love You, and Respect), Atlantic, 1967.

Aretha Arrives (includes [You Make Me Feel Like a] Natural Woman and Chain of Fools), Atlantic, 1967.

Take a Look, Columbia, 1967.

Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha Now, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha in Paris, Atlantic, 1968.

Soul 69, Atlantic, 1969.

Arethas Gold, Atlantic, 1969.

This Girls in Love with You, Atlantic, 1970.

Spirit in the Dark, Atlantic, 1970.

Aretha Live at Fillmore West, Atlantic, 1971.

Young, Gifted and Black, Atlantic, 1972.

Amazing Grace, Atlantic, 1972.

The Beginning/The World of Aretha Franklin 1960-1967, Columbia, 1972.

Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), Atlantic, 1973.

Let Me in Your Life, Atlantic, 1974.

Everything I Feel in Me, Atlantic, 1975.

Ten Years of Gold, Atlantic, 1977.

Sweet Passion, Atlantic, 1977.

Almighty Fire, Atlantic, 1978.

La Diva, Atlantic, 1979.

Aretha, Arista, 1980.

Jump to It, Arista, 1982.

Get It Right, Arista, 1984.

Whos Zoomin Who?(includes Freeway of Love), Arista, 1985.

Aretha, Arista, 1987.

Love All the Hurt Away, Arista, 1987.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, Arista, 1988.

Through the Storm, Arista, 1989.

What You See Is What You Sweat, Arista, 1991.

Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings, Atlantic, 1992.

Greatest Hits: 1980-1994, Arista, 1994.

With other artists

Curtis Mayfield, Sparkle (soundtrack), 1976.

Think, The Blues Brothers (soundtrack), 1979.

Jumpin JackFlash, Jumpin Jack Flash (soundtrack), 1986.

George Michael, I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me), Columbia, 1987.

If I Lose, White Men Cant Jump (soundtrack), EMI, 1992.

All Men Are Brothers: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, 1994.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Wexler, Jerry, and David Ritz, Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music, Knopf, 1993.

Periodicals

Boston Globe, June 14, 1991, p. 39; March 21, 1994, p. 30; September 29, 1995, p. 55.

Detroit Free Press, June 10, 1994, p. 3D; June 18, 1994, p. 2A.

Ebony, April 1995, pp. 28-33.

Entertainment Weekly, May 15, 1992, p. 64.

Essence, August 1995, pp. 73-77.

Jet, August 21, 1995, p. 33.

Simon Glickman

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Franklin, Aretha

Aretha Franklin

Singer, songwriter

Gospel Roots

Collaborations Launched Career

Triumphed Despite Turmoil

Selected discography

Sources

When asked by Patricia Smith of the Boston Globe how she felt about being called the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklins reply was characterized by grace but no false modesty. Its an acknowledgment of my art, she mused. It means I am excelling at my art and my first love. And I am most appreciative. Since she burst onto the public consciousness in the late 1960s with a batch of milestone recordings, Franklin has served as a standard against which all subsequent soul divas have been measured.

The combination of Franklins gospel roots and some devastating life experiences have invested her voice with a rareand often wrenchingauthenticity. It was like I had no idea what music was all about until I heard her sing, confessed singer-actress Bette Midler, as cited in Ebony. Though Franklins work in later decades has rarely matched the fireor the sales figuresof her most celebrated singles, she has remained an enduring presence in contemporary music. The release of several CD retrospectives and the announcement in 1995 that she would publish an autobiography and start her own record label seemed to guarantee that her influence would continue unabated.

Franklin was raised in Detroit, the daughter of famed minister C. L. Franklin and gospel singer Barbara Franklin, who left the family when Aretha was small and died shortly thereafter. The singer told Ebonys Laura B. Randolph, She was the absolute lady, although she admits that memories of her mother are few. The Reverend Franklin was no retiring clergyman; he enjoyed the popularity and, to some degree, the lifestyle of a pop star. He immediately recognized his daughters prodigious abilities, and offered to arrange for piano lessons. However, the child declined, instead teaching herself to play by listening to records.

Gospel Roots

Franklins talent as a singer allowed her to perform with her fathers traveling gospel show. She sang regularly before his congregation at Detroits New Bethel Baptist Church as well, where her performance of Precious Lord, among other gospel gems, was captured for posterity. She was 14 years old but already a spellbinding performer. Producer Jerry Wexlerwho shepherded Franklin to greatness on behalf of Atlantic Records some years laterwas stunned by the 1956 recording. The voice was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant [a priest in ancient Greece], he recalled in his book Rhythm and the Blues.

Franklins life was no church social, however. She became a mother at age 15 and had her second child two

For the Record

Born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, TN; daughter of Clarence L. (a Baptist minister) and Barbara Franklin (a gospel singer); married Ted White (a businessman and music manager), 1961 (divorced); married Glynn Turman (an actor), 1978 (divorced, 1984); children: Clarence, Edward, Teddy Richards, Kecalf Cunningham.

Performed with fathers touring revue, recorded gospel music for Chess label, 1950s; signed with Columbia Records and released debut album The Great Aretha Franklin, 1960; signed with Atlantic Records and released I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), 1967; performed at funeral of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968; performed at Democratic National Convention, 1968; performed at inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, 1977; appeared in film The Blues Brothers, 1980; signed with Arista Records and released Aretha, 1980; appeared in television specials Aretha, 1986, Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, 1988, and Duets, 1993; performed at inauguration of President Bill Clinton, 1993; signed contract with Villard publisher for autobiography, 1995; contributor to The Songs of West Side Story, 1996.

Awards: 15 Grammy awards, including 1995 lifetime achievement award; honorary Doctor of Law degree, Bethune-Cookman College, 1974; American Music Award, 1984; American Black Achievement Award, Ebony magazine, 1984; declared natural resource of home state of Michigan, 1985; inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1987.

Addresses: Record company Arista Records, 6 West 57th St., New York, NY 11019; 9975 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

years later. I still wanted to get out and hang with my friends, she told Ebonys Randolph, so I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But my grandmother helped me a lot, and my sister and my cousin. They would babysit so I could get out occasionally.

Alhough first inspired by gospel music, Franklin soon became interested in non-religious music. After receiving her fathers encouragement, she traveled to New York in 1960, embarked on vocal and dance lessons, and hired a manager. She then began recording demonstration tapes. Like singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles, who has often been credited with the invention of soul music, Franklin brought the fire of gospel to pop music, her spiritual force in no way separated from her earthy sexuality.

Collaborations Launched Career

Celebrated Columbia Records executive John Hammond was so taken by Franklins recordings that he signed her immediately. Her first Columbia album was issued in the fall of 1960. While a few singles made a respectable showing on the charts, it was clear that the label wasnt adequately showcasing her gifts, either in its choice of material or production. I cherish the recordings we made together, remarked Hammond in Rhythm and the Blues, but, finally, Columbia was a white company [that] misunderstood her genius.

Franklin and her husband/manager, Ted White, agreed that she should pursue other options when her contract expired. Wexler leapt at the opportunity to sign her to Atlantic, and eventually he, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd produced Franklins first Atlantic sides.

Wexler brought Franklin to the Florence Alabama Music Emporium (FAME) studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record with a unique group of musicians adept in soul, blues, pop, country, and rock. This crew was stunned by Franklins power and prowess. Accompanying herself on piano, she deftly controlled the tone and arrangement of the songs she performed. Backing vocals were provided either by her sisters Carolyn and Ermaor by the vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, whichfeatured Cissy Houston, mother of future singing star Whitney Houston. Wexler also brought in young rock guitarists Duane Allman and Eric Clapton for guest spots.

Unfortunately, only one of two songsI Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)was finished when White and one of the musicians had a drunken row; White grabbed Franklin and they vanished for a period of weeks. Wexler balanced jubilation with anxiety, as radio programmers around the country embraced I Never Loved a Man, and distributors clamored for an album. But the artist was nowhere to be found. At last she surfaced in New York, where she completed the unfinished Do Right Woman, Do Right Man, and inWexlers words, the result was perfection.

Franklins first album for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), was released in 1967, and several hit-filled LPs followed. During this crucial period she enjoyed a succession of smash singles that included the rollicking Baby I Love You, the pounding groove Chainof Fools, the supercharged Think, (which she wrote), the tender (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman, and a blistering take on Otis Reddings Respect. The latter two would become Franklins signature songs.

Franklins version of Respect, coming as it did at a crucial point for black activism, feminism, and sexual liberation, was particularly potent. Wexler noted that Franklin took Reddings more conventional take on the song and turned it inside out, making it deeper, stronger, loading it with double entendres. Whats more, he noted, The fervor in Arethas magnificent voice implied not just everyday respect but sexual attention of the highest order, as implied by the sock it to me backup chorus she and her sisters devised.

Writer Evelyn C. White, in an Essence piece, referred to Respect as a revolutionary force in her own life. Franklins impassioned, soulful licks and sly innuendos about sexual pleasure made me feel good about myself, she wrote, both as a black American and as a young girl about to discover sex. Eventually, the song would become an American pop standard. At the time of its release, however, it served primarily as a fight song for social change, and went on to score two trophies at that years Grammy Awards.

Franklins voice was crucial to the soundtrack of the era, and not just as a record playing on the radio. Franklins father was a closef riend of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family. When the crusading minister was assassinated in 1968, Franklin was enlisted to sing at his funeral. Wexler described her performance of Precious Lord as a holy blend of truth and unspeakable tragedy.

Franklin also sang the National Anthem at the Democratic Partys riot-marred 1968 convention in Chicago. Yet even as her soulful wail soothed a number of difficult national transitions and transformations, Franklins own changes were hidden from view. I think of Aretha as Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows, Wexler wrote. Her eyes are incredible, luminous eyes covering inexplicable pain. Her depressions could be as deep as the dark sea. I dont pretend to know the sources of her anguish, but anguish surrounds Aretha as surely as the glory of her musical aura.

Despite her inner turmoil, Franklin enjoyed phenomenal commercial success during these years. A number of other blockbuster Atlantic albums followed her debut on the label, and she proceeded to take home Grammys every year between 1969 and 1975. Instead of slowing down after all her overwhelming success, she continued to explore rock and pop records for new material and recorded cover versions of songs by the Beatles, Elton John, the Band, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. She didnt think in terms of white or black tunes, or white or black rhythms, noted Wexler. Her taste, like her genius, transcended categories.

In 1972 Franklin sang at the funeral of gospel giant Mahalia Jackson, which suggested her stature in the gospel world; it was no surprise when Amazing Grace, an album of church music she recorded with Wexler, soared up the pop charts that year. At the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, she provided an a capella rendition of God Bless America.

Triumphed Despite Turmoil

Having parted ways with husband/manager Ted White some years earlier, Franklin married actor Glynn Tur-man in 1978. They divorced six years later. By the end of the 1970s, her record sales had dwindled, but she took an attention-getting turn in the Blues Brothers movie, in which she both acted and sang. The film and the Blues Brothers albums, recorded by Saturday Night Live funnymen and blues and soul fanatics Dan Ayk-royd and John Belushi, helped fuel a new mainstream interest in 1960s soul.

In 1980 Franklin elected to leave Atlantic and sign with Arista Records. The labels slick production and commercial choice of material earned greater sales than she had enjoyed for some time, particularly for the single Freeway of Love. She earned three more Grammys during the decade. Nonetheless, Dave DiMartino of Entertainment Weekly grumbled that most of her hits at Arista have been assembled by big-name producers like Narada Michael Walden and might have easily featured another singer entirelylike, say, label mate Whitney Houston DiMartino also objected to the relentless pairing of Franklin with other stars for much-hyped duets, remarking, Like Aretha Franklin needs a gimmick?

In 1979 Franklins father was shot by a burglar in his home and fell into a coma. He died several years later, having never regained consciousness. As Ebonys Randolph wrote, When youve said as many goodbyes as Aretha, its impossible not to be palpably shaped by loss. The singer cited a point during her fathers hospi-talization as the most difficult decision of her life. We had to have a trach [a tracheotomy, a procedure that involves cutting through the vocal chords], she confided, and we were afraid it would affect his voice, which was certainly his living.

But beyond this and other painful incidents, further triumphs lay ahead for Franklin. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance, was the subject of an all-star documentary tribute broadcast on public television, sang at the inauguration of another president, Bill Clinton, in 1993, and won a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1995. Franklin might not have been the commercial powerhouse that some of her younger acolytes, like Houston and Mariah Carey, but she definitely had become an institution.

Franklinwho moved back to the Detroit area in the mid-1990sannounced plans for an autobiography in 1995 and also made public her intention to start a record label, which would be called World Class Records. Im looking for space, she told the Boston Globe. Im the CEO. She continued to perform, her band by that time featuring two of her sons, Kecalf Cunningham and Teddy Richards.

Other projects, including film and television appearances, were also in the works. I just strive for excellence pretty much across the board, whether its as a producer, songwriter or singer, Franklin proclaimed to Boston Globe writer Smith. I give people what I feel is best, not just what everyone says is hot. I want to do things that are going to be meaningful and inspiring to them one way or another. Asked by the Detroit Free Press if she ever got tired of singing Respect, the Queen of Soul replied, Actually, no. I just find new ways of refreshing the song. Similarly, Franklins voice continues to refresh new listeners.

Selected discography

The Great Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1960.

The Electrifying Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962.

The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962.

Aretha Franklins Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1967.

I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), Atlantic, 1967.

Aretha Arrives , Atlantic, 1967.

Take a Look, Columbia, 1967.

Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha Now, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha in Paris, Atlantic, 1968.

Soul 69, Atlantic, 1969.

Arethas Gold, Atlantic, 1969.

This Girls in Love with You, Atlantic, 1970.

Spirit in the Dark, Atlantic, 1970.

Aretha Live at Fillmore West, Atlantic, 1971.

Young, Gifted and Black, Atlantic, 1972.

Amazing Grace, Atlantic, 1972.

The Beginning/The World of Aretha Franklin 1960-1967, Columbia, 1972.

Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), Atlantic, 1973.

Let Me in Your Life, Atlantic, 1974.

Everything I Feel in Me, Atlantic, 1975.

Ten Years of Gold, Atlantic, 1977.

Sweet Passion, Atlantic, 1977.

Almighty Fire, Atlantic, 1978.

La Diva, Atlantic, 1979.

Aretha, Arista, 1980.

Jump to It, Arista, 1982.

Get It Right, Arista, 1984.

Whos Zoomin Who? , Arista, 1985.

Aretha, Arista, 1987.

Love All the Hurt Away, Arista, 1987.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, Arista, 1988.

Through the Storm, Arista, 1989.

What You See Is What You Sweat, Arista, 1991.

Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings, Atlantic, 1992.

Greatest Hits: 1980-1994, Arista, 1994.

With other artists

Curtis Mayfield, Sparkle (soundtrack), 1976.

Think, The Blues Brothers (soundtrack), 1979.

Jumpin Jack Flash, JumpinJack Flash (soundtrack), 1986.

George Michael, I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me), Columbia, 1987.

If I Lose, White Men Cant Jump (soundtrack), EMI, 1992.

All Men Are Brothers: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, 1994.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers&Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Wexler, Jerry, and David Ritz, Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music, Knopf, 1993.

Periodicals

Boston Globe, June 14, 1991, p. 39; March 21, 1994, p. 30; September 29, 1995, p. 55.

Detroit Free Press, June 10, 1994, p. 3D; June 18, 1994, p. 2A.

Ebony, April 1995, pp. 28-33.

Entertainment Weekly, May 15, 1992, p. 64.

Essence, August 1995, pp. 73-77.

Jet, August 21, 1995, p. 33.

People, February 19, 1996, p. 22.

Simon Glickman

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"Franklin, Aretha." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/franklin-aretha

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (born 1942) had a modest beginning as a gospel singer in Detroit before becoming known as the "Queen of Soul."

When asked by Patricia Smith of the Boston Globe how she felt about being called the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin's reply was characterized by grace but no false modesty. "It's an acknowledgment of my art," she mused. "It means I am excelling at my art and my first love. And I am most appreciative." Since she burst onto the public consciousness in the late 1960s with a batch of milestone recordings, Franklin has served as a standard against which all subsequent soul divas have been measured.

The combination of Franklin's gospel roots and some devastating life experiences have invested her voice with a rare—and often wrenching—authenticity. "It was like I had no idea what music was all about until I heard her sing," confessed singer-actress Bette Midler, as cited in Ebony. Though Franklin's work in later decades has rarely matched the fire—or the sales figures—of her most celebrated singles, she has remained an enduring presence in contemporary music. The release of several CD retrospectives and the announcement in 1995 that she would publish an autobiography and start her own record label seemed to guarantee that her influence would continue unabated.

Franklin was raised in Detroit, the daughter of famed minister C. L. Franklin and gospel singer Barbara Franklin, who left the family when Aretha was small and died shortly thereafter. The singer told Ebony's Laura B. Randolph, "She was the absolute lady," although she admits that memories of her mother are few. The Reverend Franklin was no retiring clergyman; he enjoyed the popularity and, to some degree, the lifestyle of a pop star. He immediately recognized his daughter's prodigious abilities, and offered to arrange for piano lessons. However, the child declined, instead teaching herself to play by listening to records.

Gospel Roots

Franklin's talent as a singer allowed her to perform with her father's traveling gospel show. She sang regularly before his congregation at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church as well, where her performance of "Precious Lord," among other gospel gems, was captured for posterity. She was 14 years old but already a spellbinding performer. Producer Jerry Wexler—who shepherded Franklin to greatness on behalf of Atlantic Records some years later—was stunned by the 1956 recording. "The voice was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant [a priest in ancient Greece]," he recalled in his book Rhythm and the Blues.

Franklin's life was no church social, however. She became a mother at age 15 and had her second child two years later. "I still wanted to get out and hang with my friends," she recollected to Ebony's Randolph, "so I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But my grandmother helped me a lot, and my sister and my cousin. They would babysit so I could get out occasionally."

Although first inspired by gospel music, Franklin soon became interested in non-religious music. After receiving her father's encouragement, she traveled to New York in 1960, embarked on vocal and dance lessons, and hired a manager. She then began recording demonstration tapes. Like singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles, who has often been credited with the invention of "soul music," Franklin brought the fire of gospel to pop music, her spiritual force in no way separated from her earthy sexuality.

Collaborations Launched Career

Celebrated Columbia Records executive John Hammond was so taken by Franklin's recordings that he signed her immediately. Her first Columbia album was issued in the fall of 1960. While a few singles made a respectable showing on the charts, it was clear that the label wasn't adequately showcasing her gifts, either in its choice of material or production. "I cherish the recordings we made together," remarked Hammond in Rhythm and the Blues, "but, finally, Columbia was a white company [that] misunderstood her genius."

Franklin's manager at the time, Ted White, was also her husband; they agreed that she should pursue other options when her contract expired. Wexler leapt at the opportunity to sign her to Atlantic, and eventually he, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd produced Franklin's first Atlantic sides.

Wexler brought Franklin to the Florence Alabama Music Emporium (FAME) studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record with a unique group of musicians adept in soul, blues, pop, country, and rock. This crew was stunned by Franklin's power and prowess. Accompanying herself on piano, she deftly controlled the tone and arrangement of the songs she performed. Backing vocals were provided either by her sisters Carolyn and Erma or by the vocal group the Sweet Inspirations, which featured Cissy Houston, mother of future singing star Whitney Houston. Wexler also brought in young rock guitarists Duane Allman and Eric Clapton for guest spots.

Unfortunately, only one of two songs—"I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)"—was finished when White and one of the musicians had a drunken row; White grabbed Franklin and they vanished for a period of weeks. Wexler balanced jubilation with anxiety, as radio programmers around the country embraced "I Never Loved a Man," and distributors clamored for an album. But the artist was nowhere to be found. At last she surfaced in New York, where she completed the unfinished "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," and in Wexler's words, "the result was perfection."

Franklin's first album for Atlantic, I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), was released in 1967, and several hit-filled LPs followed. During this crucial period she enjoyed a succession of smash singles that included the rollicking "Baby I Love You," the pounding groove "Chain of Fools," the supercharged "Think," (which she wrote), the tender "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman," and a blistering take on Otis Redding's "Respect." The latter two would become Franklin's signature songs.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Franklin's version of "Respect," coming as it did at a crucial point for black activism, feminism, and sexual liberation, was particularly potent. Wexler noted that Franklin took Redding's more conventional take on the song and "turned it inside out, making it deeper, stronger, loading it with double entendres." What's more, he noted, "The fervor in Aretha's magnificent voice" implied not just everyday respect but "sexual attention of the highest order," as implied by the "sock it to me" backup chorus she and her sisters devised.

Writer Evelyn C. White, in an Essencepiece, referred to "Respect" as a revolutionary force in her own life. Franklin's "impassioned, soulful licks and sly innuendos about sexual pleasure made me feel good about myself," she wrote, "both as a black American and as a young girl about to discover sex." Eventually, the song would become an American pop standard. At the time of its release, however, it served primarily as a fight song for social change, and went on to score two trophies at that year's Grammy Awards.

Franklin's voice was crucial to the soundtrack of the era, and not just as a record playing on the radio. Franklin's father was a close friend of civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family. When the crusading minister was assassinated in 1968, Franklin was enlisted to sing at his funeral. Wexler described her performance of "Precious Lord" as "a holy blend of truth and unspeakable tragedy."

Franklin also sang the National Anthem at the Democratic Party's riot-marred 1968 convention in Chicago. Yet even as her soulful wail soothed a number of difficult national transitions and transformations, Franklin's own changes were hidden from view. "I think of Aretha as 'Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows,"' Wexler wrote. "Her eyes are incredible, luminous eyes covering inexplicable pain. Her depressions could be as deep as the dark sea. I don't pretend to know the sources of her anguish, but anguish surrounds Aretha as surely as the glory of her musical aura."

Despite her inner turmoil, Franklin enjoyed phenomenal commercial success during these years. A number of other blockbuster Atlantic albums followed her debut on the label, and she proceeded to take home Grammys every year between 1969 and 1975. Instead of slowing down after all her overwhelming success, she continued to explore rock and pop records for new material and recorded cover versions of songs by the Beatles, Elton John, the Band, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, and many others. "She didn't think in terms of white or black tunes, or white or black rhythms," noted Wexler. "Her taste, like her genius, transcended categories."

In 1972 Franklin sang at the funeral of gospel giant Mahalia Jackson, which suggested her stature in the gospel world; it was no surprise when Amazing Grace, an album of church music she recorded with Wexler, soared up the pop charts that year. At the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, she provided an a capella rendition of "God Bless America."

Triumphed Despite Turmoil

Having parted ways with husband/manager Ted White some years earlier, Franklin married actor Glynn Turman in 1978. They divorced six years later. By the end of the 1970s, her record sales had dwindled, but she took an attention-getting turn in the Blues Brothers movie, in which she both acted and sang. The film and the Blues Brothers albums, recorded by Saturday Night Live funnymen and blues and soul fanatics Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, helped fuel a new mainstream interest in 1960s soul.

In 1980 Franklin elected to leave Atlantic and sign with Arista Records. The label's slick production and commercial choice of material earned greater sales than she had enjoyed for some time, particularly for the single "Freeway of Love." She earned three more Grammys during the decade. Nonetheless, Dave DiMartino of Entertainment Weekly grumbled that most of her hits at Arista "have been assembled by big-name producers like Narada Michael Walden and might have easily featured another singer entirely—like, say, label mate Whitney Houston" ; DiMartino also objected to the relentless pairing of Franklin with other stars for much-hyped duets, remarking, "Like … Aretha Franklin needs a gimmick?"

In 1979 Franklin's father was shot by a burglar in his home and fell into a coma. He died several years later, having never regained consciousness. As Ebony's Randolph wrote, "When you've said as many goodbyes as Aretha, it's impossible not to be palpably shaped by loss." The singer cited a point during her father's hospitalization as the most difficult decision of her life. "We had to have a trach [a tracheotomy, a procedure that involves cutting through the vocal chords]," she confided, "and we were afraid it would affect his voice, which was certainly his living."

But beyond this and other painful incidents, further triumphs lay ahead for Franklin. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance, was the subject of an all-star documentary tribute broadcast on public television, sang at the inauguration of another president, Bill Clinton, in 1993, and won a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1995. Franklin might not have been the commercial powerhouse that some of her younger acolytes, like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, but she definitely had become an institution.

Franklin—who moved back to the Detroit area in the mid-1990s—announced plans for an autobiography and also made public her intention to start a record label, which would be called World Class Records. "I'm looking for space," she told the Boston Globe. "I'm the CEO." She continued to perform, her band by that time featuring two of her sons, Kecalf Cunningham and Teddy Richards.

Other projects, including film and television appearances, were also in the works. "I just strive for excellence pretty much across the board, whether it's as a producer, songwriter or singer," Franklin proclaimed to Boston Globe writer Smith. "I give people what I feel is best, not just what everyone says is 'hot.' I want to do things that are going to be meaningful and inspiring to them one way or another." Asked by the Detroit Free Press if she ever got tired of singing "Respect," the Queen of Soul replied, "Actually, no. I just find new ways of refreshing the song." Similarly, Franklin's voice continues to refresh new listeners.

Further Reading

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Wexler, Jerry, and David Ritz, Rhythm and the Blues: A Life in American Music, Knopf, 1993.

Boston Globe, June 14, 1991, p. 39; March 21, 1994, p. 30; September 29, 1995, p. 55.

Detroit Free Press, June 10, 1994, p. 3D; June 18, 1994, p. 2A.

Ebony, April 1995, pp. 28-33.

Entertainment Weekly, May 15, 1992, p. 64.

Essence, August 1995, pp. 73-77.

Jet, August 21, 1995, p. 33.

People, February 19, 1996, p. 22. □

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Franklin, Aretha

ARETHA FRANKLIN

Born: Memphis, Tennessee, 25 March 1942

Genre: R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: A Rose Is Still a Rose (1998)

Hit songs since 1990: "Willing to Forgive," "A Rose Is Still a Rose"


Rock critic Dave Marsh called Aretha Franklin "the greatest female singer of her generation." Revered as "the queen of soul," Franklin has left a deep imprint on popular music, influencing countless younger singers such as Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige. More than her powerful, three-octave vocal range, sensitive piano playing, and legacy of excellent recordings, Franklin's great contribution lies in helping make rhythm and blues music a popular phenomenon. Her hits of the late 1960s, especially her 1967 signature song, "Respect," tapped into the social and political movements then shaping the nation's consciousness. "Respect" was more than just a great song; it was a summation of the entire era, becoming associated with African-American pride and women's rights. Franklin has also gained renown for her versatility and longevity: Unlike many of her musical peers, she went on making influential records throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Born to the Rev. C. L. Franklin, a famed minister and recording artist, Franklin was raised in Detroit and immersed in gospel and rhythm and blues music from an early age. As a child she and her sisters Erma and Carolyn became featured performers at their father's New Bethel Baptist Church. By 1959 Franklin had made her first religious recordings for Chess Records and was touring the country as a gospel singer. At seventeen she was already leading a grown-up lifestyle, the single mother of two children.


John Hammond and Columbia

In 1960 Franklin came to the attention of the legendary producer and talent scout John Hammond, who signed her to Columbia Records with the intention of making her a jazz and blues singer. Some excellent work followed, although Columbia soon discarded Hammond's guidance in favor of a more pop-oriented approach. While some of Franklin's Columbia recordings suffer from over-arrangement, her vocals are often warm, full-bodied, and soulful. Hammond explained the situation best, claiming that "Columbia was a white company who misunderstood her genius."


Fame and Fortune at Atlantic

In 1966 Franklin left Columbia and signed with Atlantic Records, a pioneering company in the field of rhythm and blues music, and began recording the work for which she remains best known. Under the production leadership of Atlantic vice president Jerry Wexler, Franklin embarked upon a string of hits that made use of her gospel background and exemplary piano skills. These songs had a harder-edged sound than her Columbia recordings, epitomizing the style of music then becoming known as "soul." Soul evolved from the rock and R&B music of the 1950s, but it added a gospel flavor through vocal devices such as shouting and sermonizing. In addition to the aforementioned "Respect," hits such as "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and "See Saw" (all 1968) used Franklin's emotive singing and piano playing as their musical base. Wexler then added elements such as heavy percussion, darting horns, blues-based guitar playing, and female background vocals, all qualities distinctive to soul music. As Wexler put it, "My idea was to make good tracks, use the best players, put Aretha back on piano, and let the lady wail."

Franklin's hit-making period at Atlantic continued well into the 1970s with softer, more introspective songs such as "Day Dreaming" (1972) and "Until You Come Back to Me" (1973), but by the late 1970s her recorded performances were often listless and unconvincing. She seemed to have difficulty adapting her great talent to the changing trends in popular music.

The Change to Arista

Aware that she needed a change, Franklin ended her fourteen-year association with Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, where she developed a trendier, more pop-oriented approach. At Arista, Franklin climbed back to the top of the charts with bouncy, youth-oriented dance numbers such as "Jump to It" (1982) and "Freeway of Love" (1985).

By the turn of the 1990s, Franklin was widely acknowledged as a living legend. In 1987 she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 1994. That year she moved into the realm of up-tempo dance, or "club," music with "A Deeper Love," a single from the Sister Act 2 movie soundtrack that once again showcased her remarkable vocal range.

A heavy smoker for most of her life, Franklin gave up cigarettes in the early 1990s, and the change in her voice was noticeable. While she often sounded deep and hoarse during the late 1980s, on "A Deeper Love" her trademark high notes were back with piercing clarity. In 1995 Franklin was one of the highlights of the Kenneth "Babyface" Edmondsproduced soundtrack for the film Waiting to Exhale. Babyface, one of the hottest producers of the 1990s, wrote "It Hurts Like Hell" especially for her, and she invests the song with tenderness and depth. Often appearing sad and withdrawn in public interviews throughout her career, Franklin seemed to be singing from personal experience on lines like "Sometimes it hurts to even laugh / There's nothing funny if it's killing you." At times Franklin's voice opens up into glittering high notes, a reminder of how vital the fifty-three-year-old performer still sounded in 1995.

In 1998 Franklin released A Rose Is Still a Rose, her first album of all-new material in eight years. Always seeking to be a contemporary artist, Franklin chose to collaborate on the album with some of the hottest young performers of the late 1990s, including Lauryn Hill and Sean "Puffy" Combs. Rolling Stone called the album "a miraculous immersion in hip-hop gravity, flow and humor by one of pop music's greatest singers." The title song, penned by Hill, features empowering lyrics that draw upon Franklin's strength and life experience: "He can't lead you and then take you / Make you and then break you / Baby, girl, you hold the power." Other highlights include two fine ballads, "How Many Times" and "In the Morning," as well as the sassy, swaggering "I'll Dip." Taken as a whole, A Rose Is Still a Rose proved that Franklin at the turn of the millennium was still a force with which to be reckoned. In 1999 she published her eagerly anticipated autobiography, From These Roots. Fans hoping for serious insight into the reclusive star's life were disappointed; the book was mostly a glossed-over treatment of Franklin's complex personality.

During this period Franklin continued to broaden her musical horizons. At the 1998 Grammy Awards, she filled in for the ailing opera star Luciano Pavarotti by agreeing at the last minute to perform "Nessun dorma," Pavarotti's signature aria from the opera Turandot. Although Franklin had only eight minutes to rehearse, the audience response was so overwhelming that Pavarotti invited her to perform the aria with him as a duet at a later date. Because of a much-publicized fear of flying, Franklin was unable to accept Pavarotti's offer, but she did announce her intention to record an entire album of opera arias and enroll in classical piano courses at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York. In 2001 Franklin was honored in a special Divas Live concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall, and performed for Queen Elizabeth of England at her Fiftieth Jubilee the following year. Although Franklin had planned to fly to the UK for the event, even enrolling in special flight simulation classes to conquer her fear, she eventually decided to perform her tribute in New York via videotape. In late 2002 she announced plans to retire from live performing after undertaking a final U.S. tour in 2003.

Aretha Franklin is one of the few performers legendary enough to be instantly recognized by her first name. For many "Aretha" is synonymous with "soul." She sings with honesty, power, and dedication, making listeners feel as if they are in private communion with her. Her music transcends boundaries of race, sex, and class, speaking to the universality of the human condition. As Franklin has said, "I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is."

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Aretha (Columbia, 1961); I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) (Atlantic, 1967); Lady Soul (Atlantic, 1968); Spirit in the Dark (Atlantic, 1970); Young, Gifted, and Black (Atlantic, 1972); Amazing Grace (Atlantic, 1972); Jump to It (Arista, 1982); Who's Zoomin' Who (Arista, 1985); A Rose Is Still a Rose (Arista, 1998).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

A. Franklin, From These Roots (New York, 1999); J. Wexler, Rhythm and the Blues (New York, 1993); P. Guralnick, Sweet Soul Music (New York, 1986).

david freeland

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Franklin, Aretha

Aretha Franklin, 1942–, American singer, b. Memphis. She began singing in the choir of her father's church. Known as the "Queen of Soul," she recorded such hits as "Respect," "Chain of Fools," and "Who's Zoomin' Who," "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman," and "Highway of Love."

See her autobiography (with D. Ritz, 1999); biography by D. Ritz (2014).

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Franklin, Aretha

Franklin, Aretha (1942– ) US gospel and soul singer. Known as the ‘Queen of Soul’, Aretha has had more million-selling singles than any other female artist. Her classic songs include “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (1967), “Respect” (1967), and “I Say a Little Prayer” (1967).

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soul music

soul mu·sic • n. a kind of music incorporating elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music, popularized by African-Americans. Characterized by an emphasis on vocals and an impassioned improvisatory delivery, it is associated with performers such as Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Otis Redding.

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soul music

soul music Form of popular music. The term designates black music that developed in the USA in the 1960s from rhythm and blues. Soul is also used generically to describe music that possesses a certain ‘soulful’ quality. Its influence extends into many popular musical styles.

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Franklin, Aretha

Aretha Franklin

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Aretha Franklin has reigned as the Queen of Soul for more than twenty years. One of the first female performers to inject the rhythms and intensity of black gospel music into the pop format, Franklin has been hailed as the finest, most enduring soul singer of a generation by black and white audiences alike. A long series of personal setbacksdivorces, fear of flying, shyness, and the shooting death of her fatherhave failed to dim Franklins career or her popularity. She is one of a very few artists who have had million-selling albums in three decades, one of an even smaller group of performers who could, in her mid-forties, reach out to the hip, predominately teenage MTV audience. No great singer is more self-effacing than Aretha Franklin, writes Mark Moses in the New Yorker, and thats a matter of imagery as well as of music. Her meaning as a popular icon is elusive. The Queen of Soul doesnt bear up comfortably under the steady weight of myth. Her notorious offstage reclusiveness and timid manner bespeak an anonymous homebody rather than a sheltered deity. The contours of her career have the ups and downs youd expect of someone who has worked as long as she has, but often the highs are as inexplicable as the lows. Every four years or so over the last twenty, Franklin has experienced comebacks that have never registered with much authenticity, partly because she had never gone away.

A Time magazine reporter once observed that Franklin does not seem to be performing so much as bearing witness to a reality so simple and compelling that she could not possibly fake it. Such onstage sincerity and verve no doubt stem from Franklins background in evangelical gospel music. The daughter of an immensely popular Baptist minister, Reverend C. L. Franklin, Aretha grew up on the edge of the Detroit ghetto, with only her religious beliefs and several siblings to protect her from the debilitating atmosphere. When she was seven her father took over the duties at the New Bethel Baptist Church, and she joined the choir with her sisters. She also taught herself to play the piano when she was eight, and she was able to absorb the passion of gospel by listening to the private performances of houseguests such as Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, James Cleveland, B. B. King, Lou Rawls, and Sam Cooke. Still, life in the Franklin home was not particularly happy. Arethas mother deserted the family when the singer was six. The Reverend Franklin traveled often, leaving his children in the care of housekeepers. As soon as she was able, Aretha began to take trips with her father, singing behind his powerful preaching. She recorded her first album in 1956, when she was only fourteen.

From her teens Franklin exhibited the personality traits that have shaped her performing career. Shy and

For the Record

Born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tenn.; daughter of Clarence L. (a minister and gospel singer) and Barbara (Siggers) Franklin; married Ted White (a businessman), 1961 (divorced); married Glynn Turman, April 11, 1978 (divorced, 1984); children: (first marriage) Clarence, Edward, Teddy. Education: Attended schools in Detroit, Michigan. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Baptist.

Gospel singer, 1952-61, performing as member of her fathers traveling Baptist ministry; recorded first album of gospel music in 1956. Rhythm and blues/soul vocalist, 1960; signed first with Columbia Records, 1961, transferred to Atlantic Records, 1967, transferred to Arista Records, 1980. Has given numerous live performances in America and Europe, including a special command performance for the birthday of Englands Queen Mother. Appeared in film The Blues Brothers, 1980, and in Showtime television special, Aretha, 1986.

Awards: Grammy awards for best female rhythm and blues vocal performance, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1981, 1985, 1987, Grammy awards for best rhythm and blues recording, 1967, for best soul gospel performance, 1972, and for best rhythm and blues duo vocal (with George Michael), 1987, for I Knew You Were Waiting ; American Music Award, 1984.

Addresses: Home8450 Linwood St., Detroit, Mich. 48206.

sometimes morose offstage, she would be transformed into a dynamo by the gospel music she so loved. She quickly became a favorite on the gospel circuit, but in 1960 she decided to move into pop music. Traveling to New York City, she signed a contract with Columbia Records. As a Time correspondent notes, however, the producers at Columbia never quite distilled her true essence, channeling her into stereotyped pop arrangements, jazz standards, and old Broadway melodies. Not surprisingly, Franklin decided not to renew her Columbia contract when it expired, even though the nine albums she had cut had sold moderately well. Instead, she moved to Atlantic Records, then a pioneering outfit for rhythm and blues with a playlist that included Wilson Pickett, Ruth Brown, and Ray Charles.

At Atlantic, writes Charlie Haas in Esquire, something happened that had been absent not only from the Columbia recordings but from previous soul music as a whole: Aretha Franklins mature voice and delivery. With Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd producing and arranging, she made the series of albums by which her style is identified. Franklins first Atlantic release, I Never Loved a Man, was her first million-seller. The title single and two other cuts Respect and Baby, I Love You also went gold. From near obscurity, Franklin became an overnight star who was named top female vocalist of 1967 by every major trade magazine in the music business. She also won the first of a record eleven Grammy awards for best female rhythm and blues performer.

I Never Loved a Man was followed by a string of similarly successful albums and singles, produced in rapid succession between 1968 and 1973. Haas sums up the components of Franklins style that contributed to her phenomenal success: The authority of her phrasing let her run lyrics into a seamless scat while still juicing all the meaning from each word, duck around the beat and stock a song with sexy tension, and go from a conversational inflection to an opulently musical one in midline or from fragile breathiness to a slow-vibratoed fullness of tone that could upend small objects. The critic also notes that Franklin projected a sassier, more sexually-aware and confident image than most of her contemporaries in the business. Though she could put a victimized-woman song overchillingly, Haas declares, the main persona she built, in the lyrics she wrote and chose, was far from the virgin victim. Franklins character, underwritten by her usually eccentric and always precisely right style, was a self-knowledgeable woman who had wised up in the course of a few affairs without losing any of her sensuality, who had begun to see love not just as a thrill but as a pragmatic bargain. This persona is particularly evident in Franklins two biggest hits, Respect and You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.

The mid- to late-1970s were a difficult time for soul music in general, as the rigid beat of disco held sway. Franklin was one of many singers who suffered a declining audience during the period. Her professional woes were compounded by a series of personal problemsher father was rendered comatose by a shooting during a burglary in his home, and her first marriage failed. Then, just as her career was beginning to rebound under the Arista label, Franklin was involved in an incident aboard a small airplane that caused her to fear flying. Some observers feel that only the need to pay her fathers expensive hospital bills kept Franklin recording during the early 1980s. The Reverend Franklin died in 1984, never having recovered consciousness after the shooting. The following year Aretha recorded the album that can legitimately be called her comeback projectWhos Zoomin Who, a snappy work reminiscent of her early material. Though well into her forties, Franklin cavorted elegantly through several Whos Zoomin Who videos that became immensely popular on MTV and helped two singles, Freeway of Love and the title tune, top the pop charts. I wanted something that kids would enjoy, Franklin told Newsweek, something that would span the age gap, but not leave older fans behind. The soul is still there.

Franklin is still bothered by her fear of flying, so much of her work is accomplished in or near Detroit, her home base since 1982. Her recent hit single, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), paired her with George Michael, a pop singer seemingly from another generation altogether. In the wake of that success, Franklin has returned to her first and lasting lovegospel, with the release of a dramatic double album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. As Franklin once remarked in Time, My heart is still there in gospel music. It never left. Franklin does not intend to leave pop musics ranks permanently, however. She told Newsweek that she sees singingany kind of singingas a means of escape. It does get me out of myself, she said. I guess you could say I do a lot of traveling with my voice. Mark Moses pays homage to the Queen of Soul in his New Yorker essay, calling Aretha Franklin both the statesman shouldering history and the woman wishing herself back to childhood as if there were no extremes that her wide, rippling voice could not reconcile.

Selected discography

Aretha, Columbia, 1961.

Electrifying, Columbia, 1962.

Tender Moving and Swinging, Columbia, 1962.

Laughing on the Outside, Columbia, 1962.

Unforgettable, Columbia, 1964.

Songs of Faith, Columbia, 1964.

Running Out of Fools, Columbia, 1964.

Yeah, Columbia, 1965.

Soul Sister, Columbia, 1966.

Queen of Soul, Columbia, 1967.

Greatest Hits, Columbia, 1967.

I Never Loved a Man, Atlantic, 1967.

Once in a Lifetime, Atlantic, 1967.

Aretha Arrives, Atlantic, 1967.

Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968.

Greatest Hits, Volume 2, Atlantic, 1968.

Live at Paris Olympia, Atlantic, 1968.

Aretha Now, Atlantic, 1968.

Soul 69, Atlantic, 1969.

Today I Sing the Blues, Atlantic, 1969.

Aretha Gold, Atlantic, 1969.

I Say a Little Prayer, Atlantic, 1969.

This Girls in Love with You, Atlantic, 1970.

Spirit in the Dark, Atlantic, 1970.

Dont Play That Song, Atlantic, 1970.

Live at the Fillmore West, Atlantic, 1971.

Young, Gifted, and Black, Atlantic, 1971.

Arethas Greatest Hits, Atlantic, 1971.

Amazing Grace, Atlantic, 1972.

Hey Hey Now, Atlantic, 1973.

Let Me into Your Life, Atlantic, 1974.

With Everything I Feel in Me, Atlantic, 1975.

You, Atlantic, 1975.

Sparkle, Atlantic, 1976.

Ten Years of Gold, Atlantic, 1976.

Sweet Passion, Atlantic, 1977.

Almighty Fire, Atlantic, 1978.

La Diva, Atlantic, 1979.

Aretha, Arista, 1980.

Aretha Gospel (rerelease of 1956 debut album), Sugar Hill, 1984.

Whos Zoomin Who, Arista, 1985.

Aretha After Hours, Columbia, 1987.

Love All the Hurt Away, Arista, 1987.

The Great Aretha Franklin: The First 12 Sides, Columbia, 1988.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, Arista, 1988.

Through the Storm, Arista, 1989.

Sources

Books

Stambler, Irwin, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul, St. Martins, 1974.

Periodicals

Ebony, October, 1967.

Esquire, March, 1982.

Newsweek, August 26, 1985.

New Yorker, February 1, 1988.

New York Post, October 28, 1967.

People, February 23, 1981; October 14, 1985.

Time, January 5, 1968; June 28, 1968.

Anne Janette Johnson

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