• Dennis Howard

Aretha Franklin is the Greatest Part 1



Aretha Franklin is the most extraordinary voice of all time; well, that's my opinion, but if you don believe me, check what the music critics, musicians and producers have said about this brilliant musician and vocalist. She was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and she received her 18th Grammy Award in 2008, making her one of the most celebrated musicians in Grammy history.

Aretha can make any composition, no matter how poorly written, make sense, and if it happens to be a great composition, it's always magical. Aretha invented the practice of owning a song from its original performer.


Here are just a small collection of songs that displays her vocal artistry.



1. One Step Ahead 1965


'One Step' ahead is one of the rare gems done while Aretha was at Columbia Records. It reached #18 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. The track was released two years before Aretha Franklin joined Atlantic Records and became a celebrity.


However, this is one of the most brilliant performances on a record with perfect vocal control and effective use of melisma and goosebump-inducing runs.


'Cry Like Baby' 1966

Written by Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson Jo. Armstead, the song appeared on the eighth studio album Soul Sister by Columbia Records. Here Aretha shows the promise of what is come in terms of her vocal prowess and that uncanny ability to interpret lyrics with such expressive power.




'Respect' 1967

From the album 'I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You', Soul legend, Otis Redding wrote and recorded 'Respect, but Aretha Franklin's version rose to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967 and became an anthem for the civil rights and women's rights organisations. Aretha owns this song, with very few people knowing the original by Otis.




'You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman' 1968

Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Jerry Wexler wrote this song for the album 'Lady Soul'. Carole King, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and Rod Stewart are just a few of the artists who have sung it. With backing vocals by Aretha Franklin and her sisters, Erma and Carolyn Franklin, the song included King Curtis on tenor saxophone and solo and Willie Bridges of So Far Away fame on Baritone Saxophone.



'I Say A Little Prayer.' 1968


'I Say A Little Prayer' is a song from Aretha Franklin's album 'Aretha Now'. Aretha Franklin's rendition of Dionne Warwick's 'I Say a Little Prayer' peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.




'Bridge Over Troubled Water' 1971

Originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel, 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was released in March 1971. The track was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1972.

This extended album version was released in 1971. featuring Aretha Franklin on piano, King Curtis on tenor saxophone, Billy Preston plays the organ, and the Sweet Inspirations provide the backing vocals.




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