Favorite Songs: Son Of A Preacher Man, Something He Can Feel, Day Dreaming, Wonderful, It Hurts Like Hell, This Bitter Earth, Until You Come Back To Me, Don’t Play That Song, Ain’t No Way, I Say A Little Prayer, (You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman, Chain Of Fools, Think, Respect, Spanish Harlem, I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Love You).

Aretha Franklin is THE QUEEN OF SOUL. When you think of the greatest African-American musicians of all time, Aretha better be the first name you bring up. Why? She blended gospel with the genres of R&B, Pop & Jazz with her remarkable voice..& gave music a new life.

A gifted pianist with a powerhouse voice, Aretha has become a household name over the years by blessing us with timeless hits after hits.

One of my favorite Aretha songs is 1972’s Day Dreaming. It’s also one of her most covered songs. From Tamia, Natalie Cole to Corrine Bailey Rae, everyone has blessed this song with their angelic vocals. It’s something about Aretha’s version that reigns supreme. 👑

Michel’le’s cover of Day Dreaming is perfection!

The Queen of Soul is an act you want to collaborate with!

That moment when she made a classic with THE Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige on 1999’s “Mary.” Don’t Waste Your Time is one of my favorite album cuts!

 

When Smokey & Aretha were on Soul Train, doing the damn thing! I miss REAL music.

THEEE Mariah Carey ADORES Aretha. she adores Aretha so much that she covered 1970’s Don’t Play That Song before her debut album was released in 1990. Ain’t no BS with baby Mariah!

& that time when Mariah & Ree was sanging Chain Of Fools?!

When the girls came through for Aretha at VH1 Divas?! I was shook. Celine, Mariah, Gloria, Shania & Aretha? You better have your wig together after that performance.

 

For their 1992 album “Funky Divas,” En Vogue covered songs from Aretha’s soundtrack to the 1976 film Sparkle like Hooked On Your Love. BUTTTTTTT! “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” became one of their biggest hits! They SNAPPED for Auntie Ree child!

To Whitney Houston, Aretha was “Aunt Ree” (Whitney’s mother Cissy sang background for Aretha back in the day). So when I found this medley performance, I was shook because Nippy tore those songs UP! You just have to watch and listen to the voice!

The 1950s:

Albums Released: Songs Of Faith.

Aretha’s first album was a gospel record. Growing up with a father who was a famous preacher in Detroit, the greats were frequent visitors in her home (Mahalia Jackson, MLK, Sam Cooke, Clara Ward, etc).

So it wasn’t a surprise that her debut album was a wonderful affair for a 14 year old. A gifted pianist and those vocals were top notch? They knew she was destined for greatness.

The 1960s:

Albums Released: Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin, The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging, Aretha Franklin, Laughing on the Outside, Unforgettable: A Tribute To Dinah Washington, Runnin’ Out of Fools, Yeah!!, Soul Sister, Take It Like You Give It, I Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Take A Look, Lady Of Soul, Aretha Now, Soul 69, Soft & Beautiful.

After a brief hiatus from recording, finding the right label was a tough cookie for Aretha. Berry Gordy wanted her and older sister Erma to sign to Motown (which would’ve been FREAKING INCREDIBLE!

She grew up with Motown legends like Smokey, Diana, etc,) but her father felt like the label wasn’t established at the time. Eventually Aretha signed with Columbia and had moderate success during those Columbia years.

Her first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 was Won’t Be Long w/ The Ray Bryant Combo.

However, she covered some amazing SONGS! For example: Dinah Washington’s This Bitter Earth. You’ll see why she’s called the Queen of Soul after listening to this cover.

& the cover of Billie Holiday’s God Bless The Child? Listen. It’s greatness okay!?

After 6 years at Columbia, she found commercial success at Atlantic under the direction of producer Jerry Wexler.

Her debut Atlantic Record “I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Loved You) was a hit with songs like the title track, the Otis Redding covered “Respect” (which would become her signature song,) and the immaculate cover of her late friend Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

The late 60s belonged to Aretha! She kept the hits coming with Son of A Preacher Man, Chain Of Fools, Think, (You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman, & many more hits!

The 1970s:

Albums Released: This Girl’s In Love With You, Spirit In The Dark, Young, Gifted & Black, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of the Sky,) Let Me In Your Life, With Everything I Feel in Me, You, Sparkle, Sweet Passion, Almighty Fire, La Diva.

Aretha walked into the 70s being more successful with songs like Don’t Play That Song (You Lied,) Spanish Harlem, Rock Steady, Day Dreaming & Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The B-side to Spirit In The Dark was The Thrill Is Gone. You HAVE to hear Aretha SANG!!

One thing about Aretha is she can cover a song, & make it HERS! Her cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water is some immaculate sh*t. Aretha showed y’all that singing is an understatement. She got DOWN on that piano, PERIOD!

Aretha’s version of You is IT! Producers Chuck Jackson & Marvin Yancy (known for their work with Natalie Cole,) dream came true when she sang one of their songs. It’s also an album cut on Natalie’s debut album.

Jerry Wexler left Atlantic after the You album was released..ending their long collaboration together. Her next album was the soundtrack to the 1976 movie, Sparkle. Written & Produced by the incomparable Curtis Mayfield, Aretha came THROUGH with songs like Something He Can Feel, Hooked On Your Love, Loving You Baby, & I Get High.

The 1980s:

Albums Released: Aretha, Love All The shirt Away, Jump To It, Get It Right, Who’s Zooming Who?, Aretha, Through The Storm.

By the late 70s/early 1980s, Aretha’s career was really sketchy. After the Sparkle album, her remaining albums at Atlantic bombed so badly..that she left in 1979.

The musical film “The Blues Brothers” saw Aretha in an acclaimed role as a waitress Mrs. Murphy. In the film, one of her musical numbers is her hit single from the late 60s (Think) and is one of the most memorable scenes from the film!

Aretha also saw a lot of success again when she signed to Arista Records under Clive Davis’ direction.

Her duet with George Michael is flawless!

Nippy and Ree had time!

 

The 1990s:

Albums Released: What You See Is What You Sweat, A Rose Is Still A Rose.

Aretha was a prominent woman in the 90s. STILL!

She was featured on the Babyface produced soundtrack to Waiting To Exhale. It Hurts Like Hell is TIMELESS! She put her heart and soul into this one!

In the late 90s, she released “A Rose Is Still A Rose.” The title track, written & released by Lauryn Hill..is an uplifting feminist song where Ree gives advice to women who are in bad relationships. A SONG!

The 2000s:

Albums Released: So Damn Happy, This Christmas, Aretha.

I was in elementary school during the early 2000s, but I wasn’t too young to know of the greatness that was Aretha’s So Damn Happy album. She did THAT okay?’ Wonderful is one of my favorite songs on that album, & whew. Her vocals were THERE!

The 2010s:

Albums Released: Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.

2010s was a memorable decade for Aretha. Her most recent & I think final Album “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics” is everything y’all! Her cover of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep is greatness. Exhibit A:

Aretha Louise Franklin is a natural treasure! She has one of the most important voices in HISTORY. Not just black history, but HISTORY. Jennifer Hudson will play Aretha in a biopic (handpicked by the Queen herself,) & I am excited to see how she portrays our beloved legend. This tribute to Aretha shows that Jennifer is more than qualified for the role. Whew.

Aretha passed away on August 16, 2018 at the age of 76. I am saddened by this news of her death, because she was a fighter. Her legacy will live on through her family and rich discography..full of tunes that people will enjoy and enjoy for generations to come. Get into Auntie Ree! She was truly incomparable and one of a kind.