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Friday, March 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Aretha - The Queen of Soul

Yesterday was the birthday for Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. She was a big part of the background voice for my generation. Interestingly enough, her best known song, "Respect" was originally written (and performed by Otis Redding). Big Trunk at Powerline tells the story:

Aretha arrived in the spring of 1967, courtesy of Jerry Wexler and Atlantic Records. Wexler signed Aretha to Atlantic in the fall of 1966. He sat Aretha at a piano and placed her in the midst of sympathetic musicians at the famed Muscle Shoals Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. "I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Loved You)" was the result, and everyone involved knew that Aretha had found herself musically.

The session resumed in New York and included the recording of Otis Redding's "Respect," the song that broke Aretha nationally overnight. According to Peter Guralnick, Redding presciently told Wexler upon hearing Aretha's version of "Respect" for the first time: "I just lost my song. That girl took it away from me." Onstage at the Monterrey International Pop Festival later that year, he repeated: "The girl took that song away from me." If you heard the song in the spring of 1967, you remember: She took the song away from him.
Click here for the whole piece.
Happy belated birthday, Aretha.

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