Aretha Franklin RIP

Aretha Franklin is dead at 76.

So much great stuff it’s hard to pick but “Do Right Woman” is my favorite:

The Muscle Shoals documentary does an amazing job of describing her early years and how she became a star. She was obviously remarkably talented from the beginning but the record companies didn’t know quite what to do with her, and her early commercial recordings were stiff. Then she cut “Never Loved A Man” at FAME studios (with that great piano riff by Spooner Oldham) and was on her way to becoming the Queen of Soul.

Here’s some other great stuff

128 replies
  1. 1
    zhena gogolia says:

    I am so sorry. So much joy she brought into the world.

  2. 2
    raven says:


  3. 3
    satby says:

    Rest in peace my Queen.

  4. 4
    M31 says:


    she was the greatest

    so much good stuff — what an amazing career


  5. 5
    Mary G says:

    We have lost one of the Great Divas of our times. Chain of Fools is my favorite. So much magnificent contempt. Describes the current administration too. She stole the Blues Brothers movie and dropped her fur coat at Lincoln Center.

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Rock steady, baby
    That’s what I feel now
    Just call the song exactly what it is
    Just move your hips with a feeling from side to side
    Sit yourself down in your car and take a ride
    While you’re moving, rock steady
    Rock steady, baby
    Let’s call this song exactly what it is (what it is, what it is, what it is)
    It’s a funky and lowdown feeling (what it is)
    In the hips from left to right (what it is)
    What it is I might be doin’ (what it is)
    This funky dance all night

    (Let me hear ya gotta feeling in the air)
    (Gotta a feeling, an ain’t got a care)
    (What fun to take this ride, rock steady will only slide)

  7. 7
    MazeDancer says:

    Playing “Do Right Woman”, “Ain’t No Way”, and crying.

    Thank you, my Queen, thank you.

  8. 8
    westyny says:

    This is hair raising. Play it LOUD:

  9. 9
    Another Scott says:

    An amazing talent.


    Condolences to her family and all who loved her.


  10. 10
  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mary G: I love Chain of Fools.

    Also, gracious of Aretha and her loved ones to give us notice of her impending passing; get us ready for the loss, at the very end. The sudden deaths are the worst.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    I hope there will be no public statement from the White House. The Queen of Soul was a great American in so many ways, and no one in charge at the WH is qualified to speak of her passing with knowledge or even common decency.

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    She was truly peerless — one of a kind.

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: Seconded. The vile creature in the Oval Office and his minions aren’t worthy to pick up Ms. Franklin’s trash, much less comment on her passing.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    I wonder if Aretha ever had the misfortune of meeting him who is squatting in the Oval Office these days, and will not be named on this thread.

    You know the Obamas have been praying for her, and in touch. They revered her.

    I remember how they were not able to see Nelson Mandela on their trip to Africa; he’d taken a turn for the worse.

  16. 16
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I agree. OTOH, I hope and expect that one or both of the Obamas will release a thoughtful and heartfelt statement on her passing.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yeah. The REAL president.

  18. 18
    dexwood says:

    Man, oh, man. I loved how she made whatever song she covered entirely her own.

  19. 19
    Felony Govt says:

    What an awful loss. Chain of Fools, Knew You Were Waiting, of course Respect. Not fair.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    I found this video of her at Carole King’s Kennedy Center Honors, and King is probably more happy and excited than any honoree I’ve ever seen:

    Bruce Springsteen refused to allow any woman to do a cover version “Pink Cadillac” until Aretha Franklin wanted to do it, because how do you turn down the Queen?

    I know that her health was very bad the past few years, so I hope she had an easy passing and is at peace now. She can never be replaced. 😢

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    The first version of “Say a Little Prayer” that I remember is the original recording by Dionne Warwick. This tune, by the team of Burt Bacarach and Hal David, made me aware of songwriting and composing as separate from performance.

    And yet the Aretha Franklin version immediately popped into my head when I saw the news about her passing. She made the song hers. That’s how powerful an artist she was.

    My favorite song, though, is her version of “I Never Loved a Man,” from her first album for Atlantic. There’s a bluesy authority and fire to her vocals which just makes you stand up and shout “Amen, Miss Franklin!”

    I can only thank her for her life and her music. RIP, Queen of Soul.

  22. 22
    Amir Khalid says:

    I just saw something I wish I could unsee: the photo gallery of the Queen accompanying CNN’s story leads off with one of her and Donald Trump from 1997.

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Oh, and thank you, Doug!, for putting up a dedicated Aretha thread. I was afraid that our various tributes and comments and YouTube links would get lost in a welter of mayonnaise recipes and John Brennan pushback. Aretha deserves her own space here.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    And Forever FLOTUS.

  25. 25
    mattH says:

    The first time I remember her (I’m sure not my first exposure) was her part in the Blues Brothers. Such power. And she never lost that. RIP.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m partial to her duet with Annie Lennox, myself.

  27. 27
    zhena gogolia says:


    Oh, my God, yes, I have to leave the house now but I will blast that when I get back. I love that song.

  28. 28
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m seeing her at Obama’s inauguration in her fabulous hat.

  29. 29
    john (not mccain) says:

    I’m going to be drinking and listening to this a lot this afternoon:

  30. 30
    Mike in NC says:

    Will Fat Bastard say something derogatory about the late Ms. Franklin or leave that to his low IQ press secretary Huckabeast Sanders?

  31. 31

    Shit. This is the worst news I’ve heard in a long, long time.

  32. 32
    trollhattan says:

    In the world of music:

    Aretha – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Everybody else

    Thank you for the music Ms Franklin, you will effectively live on forever.

  33. 33
    frosty says:

    One of my favorite bits from Muscle Shoals (IIRC) was the moment she realized that these tight, badass soul players she’d heard, and who would be backing her were a bunch of Alabama white guys.

  34. 34
    TomatoQueen says:

    Thank you, Miss Aretha.

  35. 35
    biff murphy says:

    R*E*S*P*E*C*T* and chain of fools

  36. 36
    Domestic short hair tabby (fka vheidi) says:

    @Elizabelle: I thought the same

  37. 37
    trollhattan says:

    “Say a Little Prayer” is a great example–taking a bubbly hummable pop tune and turning it into something else entirely.

    It was pretty interesting to hear Carole King perform her own composition “Natural Woman” years after Aretha’s version. Two very different songs, each a worthy performance in its own right, but King must have been a little nervous about the inevitable comparisons.

  38. 38
    oatler. says:

    “Spirit In the Dark” lp

  39. 39
    columbusqueen says:

    @zhena gogolia: Yes indeed, one of her church hats clearly. I hated that some mocked her for wearing it; it was obvious that the Rev. Franklin’s daughter put on her Sunday best for Barack.

  40. 40
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Farewell Oh Queen.

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:

    Today is Madonna’s 60th birthday. I wonder if she has ever been photographed with the Queen of Soul.

    Would rather see her face than the orange horror’s.

  42. 42
    J R in WV says:

    Chain of Fools, R E S P E C T, so many wonderful performances. I think the famous episode with the fur coat we remember was at the Kennedy Center in Washington… IIRC.

    Made Carol King explode, President Obama cry, me too, both times. Then and now.

    I’m of an age where many of my icons have already died, and the rest are nearly bound to go before me. Hard to get used to.

  43. 43
    Elizabelle says:

    @J R in WV: Can’t take any of these “legacy” groups and artists for granted. If they are out there, go see them.

  44. 44
    Haroldo says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Mz Franklin plus a killer, killer band. The likes of her, etc. etc. I will miss her so.

    ETA “Live at the Fillmore West” (I think) is just a marvelous performance from beginning to end (tho’ I am very partial to her bringing Ray Charles up for ‘Spirit in the Dark.’

  45. 45
    lamh36 says:

    Aretha Franklin, was the soundtrack to my aunties and my mama and grandma life and therefore to mine.

    I knew what mood my auntie was in depending on which Aretha song she was listening to!!

    For Black folks it’s like losing a great auntie or grandmother.

    It’s def got me feeling like I lost my grandmother(s) all over again!


  46. 46
    Rob says:

    “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” is maybe my favorite Aretha Franklin song.

  47. 47
    Karen S. says:

    Hard to choose a favorite, but I’ve always really loved “Don’t Play That Song” and “Day Dreaming.” Her music, along with other soul and R&B tunes, was in the background at my house growing up during the late ’60s and ’70s, thanks to my older brother’s records and the fact that his radio was always tuned to whatever soul music radio station was popular at that time in Chicago.

  48. 48
    dexwood says:

    Gonna do exactly that tonight, seeing Ry Cooder and truly looking forward to it.

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    @dexwood: Enjoy!

    Would bet you have an Aretha song in your future.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I didn’t think it would matter to me, but I actually am in tears right now. This is beyond a Strummer, Bowie, Prince loss. Fuck.

  51. 51
    dexwood says:

    I expect a tribute of some kind. We shall see.

  52. 52
    J R in WV says:

    And now I’m understanding that when we all saw Aretha at the Kennedy Center playing piano and singing for Carol King and making President Obama cry, she probably already had her cancer, and performed like that anyway.

    An Iron Will when it came to her music. And still performed until recently. Amazing. What a woman! Her voice will outlive all of us.

  53. 53
    Cermet says:

    A great singer and entertainer – her lost for music is a great blow.

    Puzzled that Harlan Ellison who died not long ago never got a mention here at all.

  54. 54
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    SiriusXM Soul Town (#49) has gone into full-time Aretha tribute mode. Hits, deep cuts and extras.

  55. 55
    Gozer says:

    As someone noted elsewhere (can’t remember where) Aretha offered to put up bail for Angela Davis. And this was long before she was a respected elder stateswoman of civil rights and renowned academic. This was back when the Nixon admin declared her a terrorist and proceeded as such.

    Rest in Power Queen.

  56. 56
    mvr says:

    Sad news. There are so many songs that come to mind . . .

  57. 57
    Emma says:

    The Best Singer of All Time per Rolling Stone. Wanna bet she’s getting the Heavenly Choir in line right about now?

  58. 58
    Gozer says:

    @lamh36: Very true. Her music was played at damn near every family gathering I can remember. Reunions, weddings, graduations, bdays, you name it.

    Growing up in New Orleans and spending time on Chicago’s south side she was always just around, practically part of the atmosphere.

  59. 59
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Pretty sure they’re going to go with, “if she was alive today, she’d be a Trump supporter.”

  60. 60
    Barbara says:

    @Brachiator: “Say a Little Prayer” is my favorite Aretha Franklin song. I have a whole CD of Aretha does Bachrach, in fact. Burt Bachrach is an amazing artist in his own right. His songs sit in the middle of several genres, show tunes, pop, and jazz, which makes them elastic enough to shine through many different interpretations, most notably Gospel or R&B (e.g., Isley Bros., “Anyone Who Had a Heart”). Many of them are — to paraphrase Miles Davis — so good they sing themselves. That’s what Davis said about Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” which he loved. I once woke up to a radio alarm hearing a Gospel rendition of that song that was just stunning. Anyway, a sad day except to relive great music.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    @Chyron HR: Why even think about that kind of shit? It’s not funny.

    This is a thread about Aretha.

  62. 62

    Hey Nineteen
    That’s ‘Retha Franklin
    She don’t remember
    the Queen of Soul

    It’s hard times befallen
    The sole survivors
    She thinks I’m crazy
    But I’m just growing old…
    — Steely Dan and much of America right about now

  63. 63

    @Amir Khalid:

    I just saw something on twitter that trump is planning an official statement to talk about how she “worked for him.” AS THOUGH THAT WAS THE ONLY THING ABOUT ARETHA THAT MATTERED.

    goddammit. I knew if she died that shitgibbon would make it about HIMSELF. /fume

  64. 64
    pluky says:

    @Mary G: and after out singing every one of the others on a “Divas Live” production, taking over the show to introduce “her band”!

  65. 65
    Barbara says:

    @PaulWartenberg: She might have worked for him but she was front and center at President Obama’s inauguration. No one else has to make it about him.

  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    There will never be another.😢😢😢

    Ain’t No Way…she takes you to church in that song

  67. 67


    I think his passing was noted in an Open Thread or two around his time. Harlan’s impact wasn’t as widespread or powerful as Aretha. Harlan’s impact is more literary, specifically in science fiction/horror dealing in dark and deconstructive themes. Not everyone can talk about that.

  68. 68
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mike in NC: His tweet on the topic was as inoffensive as a tweet from such a monster could be. But then he opened his big fat yap to the pool reporters and made it about himself. Link rather than embedded tweet since the orange fart cloud should stink up Ms. Franklin’s memorial thread as little as possible, IMO.

  69. 69
    pluky says:

    @columbusqueen: Do you really think Ms. Franklin gave a rat’s ass what these fools thought of her attire. Though I’m sure if any had been enough of a fool to comment to her face she would have been ready. As Whoopie Goldberg commented on PETA types throwing red paint on those wearing fur while entering some odd gala “They better not throw anything on her fur. Ree-Ree will hurt you!”

  70. 70
    pluky says:

    @J R in WV: Not only did Ms. Franklin do Ms. King the honor of covering her song, it was the first time in YEARS that she performed from the keyboard. Something Ms. King noticed.

  71. 71
    James E Powell says:

    One of those moments when words fail. It can only be done with songs.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:


    I was just going to say that her performance that night was one of the best ever at the Kennedy Center.
    So much love and respect between King and Franklin.

    I’ve been teary today thinking about her. Rest in Power, Aretha Franklin.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pluky: She was Aretha. She could wear what she wanted. Some people are exempt from the normal rules; she was one of them.

  74. 74
    rikyrah says:

    Auntie Re is gone 😢😢

  75. 75
    pluky says:

    My favorite — “Mary Don’t You Weep” with James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir:

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cermet: Do you need to be that guy?

  77. 77
    rikyrah says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    Remember when that hat had it’s own Twitter account?😄
    THAT was a Sunday best hat.

  78. 78
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Today is Madonna’s 60th birthday. I wonder if she has ever been photographed with the Queen of Soul.

    Yes. Just Google image madonna aretha.

  79. 79
    pluky says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Amen! Speaking of hats, the “stay out of my face” number she wore to her Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was classic. Covered in 18″ rods with little plumes on the end. “No, I don’t want you even air kissing me!”

  80. 80
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    My lunch partner pointed out that Trump has been upstaged by yet another black woman—with tapes!

  81. 81
    patroclus says:

    My fave was Nessun Dorma at the Grammy’s when Pavarotti couldn’t sing – it was the greatest last-second substitution ever.

  82. 82
    laura says:

    The QUEEN of Soul. She created such joyful soulfulness in her music, and sent it out to make the world a better place.
    Irreplaceable Greatness a towering Woman.

  83. 83
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Dear lamh, the second I heard the news this morning I thought of you. You had posted similar comments a few days ago, and I just hope that when the announcement came of Ms Franklin’s death you were in a setting or with people where you felt free to grieve openly. Condolences to you, her family, and her legion of admirers.

  84. 84
    prostratedragon says:

    There’s a fine obituary at TPM (of all places), featuring a photo of Ms. Franklin in performance. She looks so beautiful that it took me a while to realize that it was taken recently.

  85. 85
    dexwood says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):
    Made me laugh out loud. The dog at my feet gave me his what’s up look.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, let’s not forget that she was a Civil Rights icon and worked hard all her life for that:

  87. 87
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    With such sad news I just thought I would share this to cheer us all up

    Parrot told firefighter sent to rescue her from a roof to “fuck off”.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    For people who are on Facebook, Letters of Note has a hilarious one that Ms. Franklin wrote to gossip columnist Liz Smith after Smith criticized one of her outfits:

  89. 89
    Elizabelle says:

    Love all the good song suggestions and links. Lucky time to have Youtube and Spotify, etc. I have missed just about all of Aretha, other than her hits, which never sound old. So it will be fun to take a dive into her catalogue of songs.

    Loved “I Say A Little Prayer” when lamh put it up a few days ago. I thought Dionne Warwick owned that song.

    No longer.

  90. 90
    MomSense says:


    goddammit. I knew if she died that shitgibbon would make it about HIMSELF. /fume

    He needs to keep her name out of his disgusting mouth.

  91. 91
    Mary G says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: The Obamas’ statement is everything you thought. Can’t link, sorry. I am sure it’s going to be all over the place in 5,4,3,2….

  92. 92
    L says:

    The Obamas respond with their usual dignity and class

    Read the Obamas’ full statement below:

    America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.

    Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.

    Shitgibbon of course was as classless as ever, totally failing in his attempt at some sort of empathy.

  93. 93
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Here is the statement from The Real and Forever POTUS and FLOTUS:

    America has no royalty. But we do have a chance to earn something more enduring. Born in Memphis and raised in Detroit, Aretha Franklin grew up performing gospel songs in her father’s congregation. For more than six decades since, every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade — our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance. Aretha may have passed on to a better place, but the gift of her music remains to inspire us all. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace. Michelle and I send our prayers and warmest sympathies to her family and all those moved by her song.

  94. 94
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mary G:

    I was pasting the text (#92) while you were posting your comment!

  95. 95
    MomSense says:


    Listening to Aretha with my grandma on that little radio in the kitchen. My grandma was a fine musician and she loved her.

    Now I’m in tears again.

  96. 96
    Mnemosyne says:


    I saw that in real time. I think my jaw stayed on the floor the entire time, and she got a well-deserved standing ovation from the Grammys audience. IIRC, Pavarotti personally asked her to sing it since they were friends and colleagues.

    She seems to have permanently added it to her repertoire after that, because there are a bunch of different performances of it on YouTube, including on David Letterman’s show.

  97. 97
    Elizabelle says:

    @MomSense: Great point.

    Aretha made transistor radios sound good.

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:

    Local paper actually carried that story this morning–laughed and laughed and laughed, I did. What makes it better is imagining the parrot swearing in a posh Brit accent.

  99. 99
    Barbara says:

    @Elizabelle: Well, really, Motown producers pioneered recording techniques specifically with the idea that most of its music would be heard on radios, especially car radios. It wasn’t by accident that these songs sounded so good on low fidelity radios.

  100. 100
    Tazj says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: What a beautiful tribute by the POTUS and FLOTUS.

  101. 101
    Larch says:

    The Current went all Aretha right after the announcement & is still going strong. Streaming at:

  102. 102
    trollhattan says:

    It was quite the studio artform processing music to sound good on AM through a four-inch mono speaker. And then artists who got the attention had entirely different stereo mixes for the LP version.

  103. 103
    Mary G says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Lol! Great minds, etc! It is a beautiful tribute.

  104. 104
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh36: I thought of this when I read your comments about Aretha and everything she has meant to you and your family.

    There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and of unspeakable love.
    – Washington Irving

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:


    Is this thing back on?

    I came across a funny story about David Bowie misremembering his encounter with Aretha Franklin. One wonders if he had a drug-induced memory gap and was retrospectively embarrassed about being high at the Grammys in front of one of his heroes, which is why he remembered it the way he did:

  106. 106
    Elizabelle says:

    I remember Aretha mainly from a junior high school assembly. One of those “DJ comes and talks over a film with a bunch of song clips and gives you the history of rock n roll.” I think The Simpsons parodied that stuff, as a smoke break for teachers.

    Anyway, about halfway through the show, the DJ says “and then THE QUEEN OF SOUL” and on came an Aretha video with RESPECT — “what you want!”– and the only word is, cliche, cliche, electrifying. Am sure the program featured Elvis and the Beatles and the Doors, etc., but it’s only the Aretha clip that I remember. Maybe he turned the audio up, and maybe he didn’t, but it was the showstopper.

    I actually kind of liked those kind of things, even though it was “uncool.”

  107. 107
    Inventor says:

    @Barbara: That’s true, but Aretha didn’t record for Motown.

  108. 108
    mr gravity says:

    Rock Steady.

    Chain of Fools.


  109. 109
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Site’s acting up for others? Not just me? Trying again:

    The cybers and general media are filled with wonderful tributes — which is only right — but this, from Robyn Pennacchio at Wonkette, is high on my list of favourites.

    Also, just heard a promo that NPR’s Fresh Air is doing a memorial/tribute show instead of whatever they had originally planned for today. I was going out, but now I’m sticking close to the radio for the next hour.

  110. 110

    From Josh Marshall via twitter

    Good lord. According to pool report, Trump described Aretha Franklin as “someone who worked for him”. (not it’s not a direct quote. that’s pooler’s descrip. curious to see the verbatim.

  111. 111
    Elizabelle says:

    Aretha done broke the blog.

  112. 112
    Mike J says:

    Who’s zooming whom?

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    A friend from college once mentioned in passing that his father was a pop songwriter. Turns out he had written a number of songs on Aretha’s early Columbia albums. She was such an amazing talent.

    And I really enjoyed reading the gracious note from POTUS and FLOTUS.

  114. 114
    Aleta says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:

    Trump speaking to reporters at the White House during a Cabinet meeting at the White House Thursday

    “I want to begin today by expressing my condolences to the family of a person I knew well,” the president said. “She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific — Aretha Franklin — on her passing. She’s brought joy to millions of lives and her extraordinary legacy will thrive and inspire many generations to come. She was given a great gift from God — her voice, and she used to well. People loved Aretha. She was a special woman. So just want to pass on my warmest best wishes and sympathies to her family.”

  115. 115
    Bruce K says:

    I hesitate to say that the world will be a lesser place for her passing; rather, I’ll assert that the world is a better place for her having walked it for a while.

  116. 116
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Bruce K:

    Nicely put.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    @Mnemosyne: Very good Vanity Fair piece. Some tasty tidbits.

    Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. For 40 years, she held the record for the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100, dethroned by Nicki Minaj in 2017. When Rolling Stone ranked the 100 greatest singers of all time, Franklin, “a gift from God,” was No. 1.

    And good to see that she didn’t accept the Jim Crow bullshit still operating in the 60s in some places.

    Franklin, who Elle noted had it written into her contract in the 60s that she would never perform for a segregated audience, was glad that the song became linked to feminist and civil-rights movements. She added that the line “you know I’ve got it” has a direct feminist theme.

    “As women, we do have it,” she says. “We have the power. We are very resourceful. Women absolutely deserve respect. I think women and children and older people are the three least-respected groups in our society.”

  118. 118
    Gemina13 says:

    My mother loved rock, R&B, and soul. Growing up in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, my earliest memories include Mom getting home from work and putting on some records–and, usually, there was at least one LP by Aretha in the stack. I don’t know what most toddlers in the ’70s grew up singing, but I was mangling, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” and “Natural Woman” along with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” with Mom’s encouragement.

    She also loved Aretha cover of, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I listened to it just the other day, and found my memory turning back to one of the Little apartments we lived in on Jonquil. It was a rough area even then, but Mom turned every place we lived in into palaces full of light, her joy of life, and music. And Aretha was part of that.

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    Duane says:

    I recently rediscovered her version of “Spanish Harlem.” Powerful, soulful gift to humanity. Thanks for everything Aretha.

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    Anotherlurker says:

    Many years ago, I worked an Aretha Franklin show. It was absolutely amazing.
    When the show ended and the audience filed out, we were held over for an additional taping. 3 Ballerimas took the stage. Aretha came out, in full Ballet apparel. At this point in her career, she was quite a substantial woman and the contrast between her and the back-up dancers was quite stark. There were quite a few snickers, to my shame, I was one of those.
    Well, the music started, a classical ballet piece, whose title I can’t recall. What we saw wasn’t a large woman dancing. What we saw was the epitome of grace, confidence and joy in the art.
    We were captivated and won over by this amazing woman who expanded the boundaries of her art and artistry. We were all blown away.
    To my knowledge, this footage never aired. It was a piece of art, just for The Queen.

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    Mnemosyne says:


    FWIW, we all think that ballet dancers need to be on the verge of anorexia because George Balanchine was a creepy jerk who dictated that back in the day. As you learned, there is no actual reason for it other than “aesthetics.”

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    zhena gogolia says:


    Yeah, all respect to Bacharach. And it was only when I heard Stevie Wonder sing “Alfie” at the White House (in the Obama era, of course) that I realized how brilliant Hal David’s lyrics were. Simple and profound and so beautifully set on the music.

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    🎈🥤 says:

    Before Aretha was the Queen of Soul, she was the Queen of Gospel. Her double album of just gospel music is what I remember the fondest. Thank you, Aretha.

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    John Fremont says:

    @Elizabelle: Her versions of Gentle on my Mind and the Weight equal Glen Campbell’s and the Band’s respectively IMHO.

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    Ruckus says:

    Just one more thing to hate him for. One of the best people ever, and he can’t say goodbye like a human.

    There are some who transcend humanity, who make it better by just being themselves. Aretha was way better than that.

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    J R in WV says:

    Aretha’s version of the Weight has Duane Allman playing slide guitar. One more tiny detail to make it amazing. Her aria in substitution for Luciano Pavarotti was pretty sweet too.

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    Miss Bianca says:

    Oh, Aretha. I used to pass by your father’s church often and often as a squeaker on the east side of Detroit. Always felt so proud that you were as much a part of Motown’s musical heritage as Motown itself. RIP, great Queen of Soul.

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