• Dennis Howard

Aretha Franklin is the Greatest Part Two



Despite her popularity, Aretha did not avoid the ups and downs of the music industry, and she had periods of irrelevance and being out of style. Still, with the help of talented producers,  Aretha was always able to successfully rebrand her sound to suit the times' thanks to her immense talent and versatility.


A victim of the 'white rock canon', the mainstream industry tried to limit her greatness to one genre. She was dubbed the Queen of Soul, yet Aretha's music and sound transcended limited genre boundaries. She is, without a doubt, the greatest vocalist of all time in any popular music genre.


Here are more songs to drive home the significance of her art.



'Rock Steady' 1972


'Rock Steady,' is from the album 'Young, Gifted, And Black'. On the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs list, 'Rock Steady' reached No. 2. Some thought the song was a tribute to the Jamaican rocksteady genre, but it was a funk song.




'Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)'1973


The song was written by Morris Broadnax, Clarence Paul, and Stevie Wonder and was first recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1967. However, his version was never released as a single and would not emerge until his 1977 anthology Looking Back.

Aretha Franklin's rendition of the song is the most well-known, with a million-selling top 10 success on the Billboard charts in 1973. In 1974, the song charted at No. 1 on the R&B chart and No. 3 on the Hot 100.

It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song features Richard Tee on Organ and Donnie Hathaway on piano.




'Love All the Hurt Away' 1981


'Love All the Hurt Away' is a duet with George Benson from the album of the same name, released in 1981. The Arif Mardin-produced album opened at #4 on Billboard's R&B albums chart and #36 on the main Billboard album chart in the United States, selling around 250,000 copies.




'Freeway of Love' 1985

Written by Jeffrey Cohen and Narada Michael Walden and produced by the latter for her thirty-first studio album, Who's Zoomin' Who? The song features Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Sylvester, Martha Wash, and Jeanie Tracy sang backing vocals on 'Freeway of Love.'

Franklin's highest-charting song in twelve years, the single, topped the Billboard Hot 100 list and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for five weeks, from July 27, 1985, to August 24, 1985. (her milestone twentieth number-one hit on the chart)





'Who's Zoomin' Who?' 1985

Aretha Franklin collaborated on this song with producer Narada Michael Walden and songwriter Preston Glass. Randy Jackson, a former American Idol coach, played bass and sang backup on this single.

Preston Glass, the song's other songwriter, played keyboards alongside Walter Afanasieff while Walden handled the drums. Corrado Rustici was a guitar player. The song was inspired by a conversation with Narada Walden and Aretha about her nightclubbing activities.




A Rose is Still a Rose 1998

The song was produced by Lauren Hill and introduced the hip hop generation to the greatness of the remarkable talent.






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