The Incredible Beautiful Aretha Franklin, Born in Memphis in 1942, Aretha grew up in Detroit and her Father, the Rev. CL Franklin, was the Pastor in her local Church, and it was there that Aretha was so influenced by the Spirituals and the Soul songs. "Influenced" is too weak a word. They are her heritage, the music of her people and a main part of her character make- up. How did She affect me ? Well, when I saw and heard her in " The Blues Brothers" I simply fell in Love with her. There was that cry in the voice again, irrespective of what any particular song may be about, even a happy song, that underlying hurt is still there. When I heard Aretha for the first time it was like a punch to the heart. And the contolled abandonment when she sings a Black Spiritual Song uplifts me while filling me with a strange, beautiful bitter-sweet joy.  In short I fancy her like crazy. Get this. Aretha recorded her first album when she was only 14 years of age. The Album - "The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin" was released on the Checker Label.  Dinah Washington, Sam Cooke, LaVern Baker and Ruth Brown  were strong influences on Aretha. 


She signed with Columbia in 1960, but it wasn't until she switched to Atlantic in 1966 that Aretha showed just what a Mega talent she was .  The world started to sit up and take notice of her great voice when she released her first single " I never Loved A Man [The way I Loved You]" and then smacked us all with " Respect"  R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It carried a two pronged message. Respect for women, and  a statement of racial pride. Aretha has charted more million sellers than any other woman in the history of recording. She was dubbed "Lady Soul." In the 70s Aretha gave us a number of memorable albums including "Young Gifted And Black" and "Spirit In The Dark." After 15 years with Atlantic she signed with Arista in 1980, recording everything from dance music to Gospel, making the charts with "Freeway of Love" and "I Knew You Were Waiting [ For Me]" - this latter title making number one in 1987. Aretha was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame that same year, the first woman to do so. Aretha's hits are just to numerous to mention,and for me, her contribution to the World of Rock and Roll is beyond measure.  One of the most moving moments in her career was singing "God Bless America" a capella at Jimmy Carter's Presidential Inaugural Gala on Jan 19,1977.   God Bless America indeed and God Bless Aretha Franklin. I Love Her.    (c) Joe Moretti. March 2002.


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