Always loved that song. Not even included in the RS top 50 Aretha songs.I grew up in Yonkers, NY during her heyday and the radio just exploded with her music.My sisters and I use to argue which version of Respect that we liked best. A true American icon, nothing phony about here. Thank you for sharing your artistry with all of us. joe
And on Madonna’s 60th birthday: a diva til end. God Bless the Queen!
Some say one becomes aware of one's mortality when one's parents die. Maybe so, but I would argue that the death of those who make one's favorite music, especially those like Aretha who were the soundtrack of one's youth and early adulthood, really drives the idea home. She was one of those stars ,who like B. B. King, one believed would be immortal just because such talent should never die. R.E.S.P.E.C.T., Otis Redding wrote it, and Aretha demanded it..... and damn sure deserved it.
Jerry Wexler (I believe it was him and I'm paraphrasing here) said in a documentary that Aretha just knew what to do with a song- she was a thoughtful singer (and I might add go on runs without over singing) but the real genius came when she sat at the piano and played and sang, and it's true- her piano, her voice, soul and warm, generous heart were all one. She was fiercely strong yet heartbreaking, vulnerable- the latter in a way that didn't seem like pity just the way you 'feel' sometimes. Some people are born with a great voice, she was, but it's as if she was her voice- all her struggles, feelings, dreams, thoughts, heart flowing through it. She commanded this gift like the skilled musician she was.She meant so much to so many people both in and out of music, we were blessed to be on the planet while she made her magic. John Legend today told Quest Love that he listens to "Day Dreamin" every week, who could blame him? What a record. Paul McCartney called her the "Queen of our souls" and I think that's just right. Personally, selfishly I add, Aretha and I shared a great love- Sam Cooke. They were so similarly spiritual, gifted and important to music and the world.I'll be home tonight listening to the album "I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Loved You)" over and over plus that clip on YouTube with her and Smokey singing "Ooh Baby, Baby". And back to back listens of Ben E. King's version of "Spanish Harlem" and her version, the latter being a childhood nostalgic touchstone for me- I remember hearing it everywhere the summer of '71, infusing the air with its poignancy and power.Sing with the angels Queen Aretha.
From France R.E.S.P.E.C.T. my hearth & soul are crying
One example of some eloquent words from Dan Rather:"The wondrous chorus that is America at its best has lost a powerful voice. Aretha Franklin could shake the heavens and our own complacency with a spirit that was forged in the church and later expanded into diverse musical genres and audiences around the globe. She was born into a country where the prospects of someone like her, an African American woman, were severely limited. But Franklin refused to be denied the destiny of her soul and in so doing she became the Queen of Soul. She tackled life with power and purpose by channeling heartache and strength. In a time when we are desperately in need of strong voices to push back at the injustices of the present, in a time when we see the marginalized attacked, dehumanized, and dismissed, by the President of the United States, we will miss Franklin greatly. There will never be another voice quite like hers. But we can hope that future generations will continue to be inspired and demand to be heard."
One more, if you don't mind, this time from Barack Obama:"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."
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