R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

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Mister Tee
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Re: R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:05 pm

There's a paradox: the greater the stature someone has, the less it's necessary to churn out words of evaluation. Aretha was such a giant of a figure that one almost feels silence -- Respect-ful silence, as it were -- is the most fitting tribute.

But, to try for a bit more than that...it's hard to express what it was like hearing Respect on the radio in the Spring of 1967. African-American singers had of course been mainstream for several years by then, but it was mostly the Motown sound. Like most people my age, I love Motown, but I was always aware of a certain slickness to Berry Gordy's output -- getting the Supremes to play the Copa seemed the label's highest goal. Aretha couldn't be wedged into that format; she was like the Effie of Dreamgirls, whose raw, powerful voice would never match up to sequined gowns and beehive hairdos. When Aretha started getting airplay, it was clear something new, more dangerous was getting into the national bloodstream. We even came up with a new name for it. This was no longer R&B; this was Soul.

And, as it turned out, the US was ready for it -- Respect was a bigger hit than anything the Supremes put out that year, and similarly raw efforts, like Sam and Dave's Soul Man, hit the charts hard before years end. (And, on the Caucasian side, Light My Fire -- a song that would have been refused airplay a few years earlier -- hit the number one spot by summer. The 60s were out in force.)

That Aretha's fame and talent endured -- she's leading every cable newscast today -- is testament to her talent, but also to just how big a part she was of that cultural moment. A singular performer, one of the great pop icons of my lifetime.

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Re: R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

Postby danfrank » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:47 pm

So glad I was able to see her perform live. A brilliant singer, and a force on the piano as well. She was someone who truly earned her divaship. Rest in peace, Lady Soul.

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Precious Doll
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R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

Postby Precious Doll » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:19 am

A lady that needs no introduction....

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"I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation! Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?" Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) in John Waters' Desperate Living (1977)

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