FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 16, 2018
Radio Facts CEO Kevin Ross’ Announcement on the Passing of Aretha Franklin
It’s so incredibly amazing to see urban radio stations nationwide work in concert to celebrate the life of an undeniable and truly gifted legend … Aretha Franklin
We’ve heard it said a million times but today is the day that it truly applies. Today IS the day that the music REALLY died and unfortunately at a time when the R&B genre’s remaining existence is in question.
Aretha Franklin was not only the Queen of Soul she was a singing sensation who many other singing legends bowed to. Aretha was rarely given credit for her innate ability to interpret a song even when someone else previously recorded it which was most commendable about her. Most of the original singers of various songs were forced to acquiesce and admit to Aretha doing a better job on their own songs than they did.
“Respect” is probably one of the most recognizable songs in the history of music but not many people know that Otis Redding originally recording the single in 1965 two years before it became a monster hit for Aretha. I was too young to understand the content of the song when it came out but who could ever forget the spelling of R E S P E C T in the song? Another one of my favorites was “Angel” the B side of “Master of Eyes” which failed to garner interest from urban radio so urban radio did what it used to do in those days by giving the artist a second chance if they didn’t like the single, flip it over and play the other side. Brilliant marketing in those days by the record labels.
“Angel” written by Aretha’s late sister and former background singer Carolyn Franklin was the epitome of lonely angst begging to fix an empty heart and Aretha delivered an interpretation as if it was her own heart desperately seeking alignment.
“Say A Little Prayer” originally recorded by Dionne Warwick was such an amazing re-work for Aretha that many people think she is the original singer of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic. Aretha took the pop song and drenched it in so much soul and pristine backing vocals the two version were completely opposing.
My absolute FAVORITE song by Aretha is said to be the only one that she wrote and played the piano on during the recording. “Call Me” a family member used to play that 45 until it turned white. I was very young but I remember she had to buy another copy of the single.
Who over 40 can’t remember older black people putting their favorite song on the record player repeating it over and over, grabbing a Colt 45, mixed with the smell of fried chicken in a cast iron skillet and Kool cigarette smoke filling the air in the days that the only thing black people had was music to bring us joy? Aretha said she wrote “Call Me” after sitting on a bench in a park in New York and hearing a couple part ways saying “Call me when you get there.” An incredibly simple song where some of the lines don’t even rhyme but it’s the emotion and the interpretation, once again, that really made this song.
Whatever decade of song that you liked most about the legendary Aretha Franklin, the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s up until today, we can all agree that she will truly be missed. Not only has she created an enduring legacy in the music industry, she was OUR Queen of Soul and there will never be another like her. We can absolutely expect her homegoing will be like that of a royal Queen.
August 16, 2018