On 18 Favorites Lists

» Edit Band Information
» Edit Albums

» Add a Review
» Add an Album
» Add MP3
» Add News

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer,she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records -- "Respect," "INever Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," andseveral others -- earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of aninternational institution as she's become, much of her work -- outside of her recordings for Atlantic in the late '6 ...read more

Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer,she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records -- "Respect," "INever Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," andseveral others -- earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of aninternational institution as she's become, much of her work -- outside of her recordings for Atlantic in the late '60s and early'70s -- is erratic and only fitfully inspired, making discretion a necessity when collecting her records.

Franklin's roots in gospel ran extremely deep. With her sisters Carolyn and Erma (both of whom would also have recordingcareers), she sang at the Detroit church of her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, while growing up in the 1950s. In fact, shemade her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14. It has also been reported that Motown was interested in signingAretha back in the days when it was a tiny start-up. Ultimately, however, Franklin ended up with Columbia, to which she wassigned by the renowned talent scout John Hammond.

Franklin would record for Columbia constantly throughout the first half of the '60s, notching occasional R&B hits (and one Top40 single, "Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody") but never truly breaking out as a star. The Columbia period continuesto generate considerable controversy among critics, many of whom feel that Aretha's true aspirations were being blunted bypop. oriented material and production. In fact, there's a reasonable amount of fine items to be found on the Columbia sides,including the occasional song ("Lee Cross," "Soulville") where she belts out soul with real gusto. It's undeniably true, though,that her work at Columbia was considerably tamer than what was to follow, and suffered in general from a lack of directionand an apparent emphasis on trying to develop her as an all-around entertainer, rather than as an R&B/soul singer.

When Franklin left Columbia for Atlantic, producer Jerry Wexler was determined to bring out her most soulful, fiery traits. Aspart of that plan, he had her record her first single, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," at Muscle Shoals inAlabama with esteemed Southern R&B musicians. In fact, that was to be her only session actually at Muscle Shoals, butmuch of the remainder of her '60s work would be recorded with the Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section, although thesessions would actually take place in New York City. The combination was one of those magic instances of musical alchemy inpop: the backup musicians provided a much grittier, soulful, and R&B-based accompaniment for Aretha's voice, which soaredwith a passion and intensity suggesting a spirit that had been allowed to fly loose for the first time.

In the late '60s, Franklin became one of the biggest international recording stars in all of pop. Many also saw Franklin as asymbol of black America itself, reflecting the increased confidence and pride of African-Americans in the decade of the civilrights movement and other triumphs for the black community. The chart statistics are impressive in and of themselves: tenTop Ten hits in a roughly 18-month span between early 1967 and late 1968, for instance, and a steady stream of solid mid. to large-size hits for the next five years after that. Her Atlantic albums were also huge sellers, and far more consistentartistically than those of most soul stars of the era. Franklin was able to maintain creative momentum, in part, because of hereclectic choice of material, which encompassed first-class originals and gospel, blues, pop, and rock covers, from the Beatlesand Simon & Garfunkel to Sam Cooke and the Drifters. She was also a fine, forceful, and somewhat underrated keyboardist.

Franklin's commercial and artistic success was unabated in the early '70s, during which she landed more huge hits with"Spanish Harlem," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Day Dreaming." She also produced two of her most respected, andearthiest, album releases with Live at Fillmore West and Amazing Grace. The latter, a 1972 double LP, was a reinvestigationof her gospel roots, recorded with James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir. Remarkably, it made the TopTen, counting as one of the greatest gospel-pop crossover smashes of all time.

Franklin had a few more hits over the next few years -- "Angel" and the Stevie Wonder cover "Until You Come Back to Me"being the most notable. Her Atlantic contract ended at the end of the 1970s, and since then she's managed to getintermittent hits -- "Who's Zooming Who" and "Jump to It" are among the most famous. Many of her successes were duets, orcrafted with the assistance of contemporaries such as Luther Vandross. In 1986 Franklin released her follow-up to Who’sZoomin’ Who?, the self-titled Aretha, which saw the single “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” a duet with George Michael, hitthe top of the charts. There was also another return to gospel in 1987 with One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. Franklinshifted back to pop with 1989’s Through the Storm, but it wasn’t a commercial success, and neither was 1991’s new jackswing-styled What You See Is What You Sweat.

Now solidly an iconic figure and acknowledged as one of the best singers of her generation no matter what her record saleswere, Franklin contributed songs to several movie soundtracks in the next few years before releasing the R&B-based A RoseIs Still a Rose in 1998. So Damn Happy followed five years later in 2003 and again saw disappointing sales, but it did generatethe Grammy-winning song “Wonderful.” Franklin left Arista Records that same year after 23 years and started her own label,Aretha’s Records, two years later in 2005. A duets compilation, Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen, wasissued in 2007, followed by her first holiday album, 2008’s This Christmas Aretha, originally as a Borders exclusive and thendistributed by DMI. The first release on her own label, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love, appeared in the spring of 2011.Despite sometimes poor health, she continued to select new projects to work on, ever the institution, her reputation secureas one of the best singers of the modern era. « hide

Similar Bands: Roberta Flack, James Brown, Nina Simone

LPs
Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics
2014

2
1 Votes
A Woman Falling Out of Love
2011

3
1 Votes
A Rose Is Still A Rose
1998

Who's Zoomin' Who
1985

3
2 Votes
Get It Right
1983

Jump to It
1982

Almighty Fire
1978

3
1 Votes
Sparkle
1976

4
2 Votes
You
1975

3.5
1 Votes
With Everything I Feel in Me
1974

4
1 Votes
Let Me in Your Life
1974

4
1 Votes
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky)
1973

3.5
1 Votes
Young Gifted and Black
1971

4.4
12 Votes
Spirit In The Dark
1970

4.5
4 Votes
This Girl's In Love With You
1970

3.8
2 Votes
Lady Soul
1968

4.1
39 Votes
Aretha Now
1968

4.3
13 Votes
Aretha Arrives
1967

3
3 Votes
I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
1967

4.2
62 Votes
Live Albums
Aretha Live at Fillmore West
1993

3.8
3 Votes
Amazing Grace
1972

4.1
8 Votes
Compilations
The Ultimate Best Of (Remastered)
2011

4.3
2 Votes

Music Lists
10.11.14  Candy Ranked09.03.14  Favourite Female Vocalists
09.25.13  Thanks Mom01.09.13  400 Greatest Songs of All Time (100
12.23.12  My Top 10 Albums Of The 1970s!12.18.12  400 Greatest Songs Of All Time (200
11.29.12  Best Songs Of The 60's11.24.12  Top 10 Soul Artists
11.02.12  Top 100 Standout Songs10.16.12  Greatest Singers 1960-1979
10.15.12  Female Music!08.20.12  Alternate Top 25
04.11.12  10 Songs I Like (apr. 2012)01.25.12  Albums I'm loving Pt 2
11.10.11  Golden Oldies Pt. 311.02.11  Fifty Favorite Songs Of The 60s
09.27.11  35 Great and Random Albums08.24.11  Modern Soul Recs
06.14.11  Female Vocalists04.13.11  My Favorite Vocalists
» More Lists (31)

Contributors: TWIGtheWONDERKID, rockandmetaljunkie, arcane, The Door Mouse, Iai, arcane, kevinweeks, Meatplow,

FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy