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#ThrowbackThursday: Remembering Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, via Atlantic Records, Originally Provided To Billboard Magazine in 1968
  – Aretha Franklin, via Atlantic Records, Originally Provided To Billboard Magazine in 1968

By Matt Clizbe

As it has now been widely reported Aretha Franklin has died Thursday August 16th 2018, after battling advanced pancreatic cancer.  She was 76 years old. According to CNN, Ms Franklin’s failing health first became evident when she announced that she was unable to tour in in 2017.  According to Rolling Stone, doctors orders even prevented a pair of performances at theNew Orleans Jazz Festival earlier this year. Her final performance was at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Gala in November.

The Queen of Soul was born in Memphis Tennessee in 1942. Initially rooted in the church, her illustrious career began as a gospel singer in 1956, before becoming an R&B vocal singer for Columbia Records in 1961. After releasing 10 albums, It took moving to Atlantic Records for her first gold album. Atlantic released the I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You album in 1967.  In addition to the title track, it featured several cuts that are known for boosting her to the level of success we know her for today.  

Alongside favorites like “Drown In My Own Tears”,“Soul Serenade”, and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, This Jerry Wexler produced album featured 3 notable covers, written by two R&B legends. Side B included “Good Times and “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, and side A is launched with her Otis Redding penned signature classic, “Respect.” Thanks to the power of her voice, “Respect” became a symbol for the civil rights movement, and later for women’s liberation.  

In total, Ms Franklin released 42 albums in her 63 year career. She had 112 charting singles, and the most Hot 100 entries by any female artist for 40 years. She was the first woman inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame.

To honor her passing, this week’s Throwback Thursday reflects on her most famous duet, which also became her first number 1 pop single since “Respect” in 1967.  “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” was released as the 3rd single from her 34th album, which happened to be her 3rd album to be called Aretha.

“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, was created through well orchestrated timing by Arista Records impresario Clive Davis, who matched the “Natural Woman” singer with former Wham! star George Michael. Known at the time from his first urban crossover solo venture “Careless Whisper,” George was then on the cusp of an era defining solo career that was about to ignite with the release of his 1987 blockbuster album Faith.  Recognizing the rare moment of his unique position, Michael decided to leverage his developing stardom and ask Clive help him achieve his dream of working with Aretha Franklin.  Timing and talent allowed Michael’s rising star to meet Aretha at her rarified level and their collaboration served as something special to both stars.

As previously stated, the momentum of Michael’s growing fame and commercial appeal boosted the two stars to the top of the Pop charts. However, it also eared two firsts for Aretha in an already  accolade filled career. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” became her biggest Adult Contemporary hit, and her first UK number 1 ever. Music, and even Deadpool 2 fans know that George Michael died on Christmas day 2016 due to complication related to fatty liver and cardiomyopathy.  Because George died during what is normally our site’s holiday hiatus, we wanted to also take a moment to officially salute him and his impact as well. With the right two artists a 4 minutes and 1 second song can last forever, and this one does.  Perhaps now they can give it a heavenly honcore. Enjoy this week’s TBT below.

Aretha Franklin And George Michael

“I Knew You Were Waiting For Me”

From: Aretha (1986)

Arista Records

Ms Franklin’s talent was so impactful that the mere act of her making music changed it for the better.  She is gone but she will never be forgotten. Thank you for making the world better with your music and your amazing example. You will be missed Rest in peace.

 

Related Media:

Aretha Franklin

“Respect”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“Drown In My Own Tear”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“A Change is Gonna Come”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“Good Times”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“Soul Serenade”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records

Aretha Franklin

“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”

From: I Never Loved A Man The way I loved You

Atlantic Records