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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

African American Music Appreciation Month. . .

continues with. . .
Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin represents more than being a singer, songwriter or a performer. Her contributions to African American music spans across soul and pop music. Since her awe-inspiring run of hit songs in the late-'60s with Atlantic Records, Franklin has become a GIANT of soul music. With hits like "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," Franklin was dubbed the "Lady of Soul." Her singing career started with her strong gospel upbringing in the 1950s when she performed with  her sisters Carolyn and Erma (both of whom would also have recording careers) at the Detroit church of her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin.  In fact, she made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14. 

She recorded for Columbia Records throughout the first half of the '60s, notching occasional R&B hits (and one Top Forty single, "Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody").  She faced critics who ignored her impeccably successful recording history and chose to critique her new sound. She left Columbia for Atlantic and went on to become one of the most successful international recording artists in the history of pop music. Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist. In 18 months, from 1967 to late 1968 she charted an astounding 10 top 10 hits.  

 If people allowed their achievements to speak for them, Aretha's list could speak for years. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She has 20 #1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Respect" (1967) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987), a duet with George Michael. 

Although many people put her in the soul genre, she never considered herself as being confined to one genre. She has also performed jazz, blues, R&B, and gospel music. Its time to take a music break: 


"Natural Woman"

"Chain of Fools"

"I Never Loved A Man"

On January 20, 2009 she performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" as the only featured female singer at Barack Obama's inauguration. Aretha Franklin and her blessed voice have become an American Institution. She still fills stadiums as she tours different venues. 

 I know she doesn't want to be grouped into one category but in my mind she is, and will always be, the QUEEN of Soul! 

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