She is known the world over by her first name and as the undisputed, reigning 'Queen Of Soul,' Aretha Franklin is peerless. This 2005 recipient of a Presidential Medal Of Freedom honor (the U.S.A.'s highest honor), 17 Grammy Awards (and counting), a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy Living Legend Award. She has received countless international and national awards and accolades. Aretha has achieved global recognition on an unprecedented scale. She has influenced generations of singers from Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole and Mary J. Blige to 'American Idol' winner Fantasia Burrino and Oscar- winning Jennifer Hudson. Her ever-distinctive soulful, to-the-bone vocal style has graced the music charts for over four decades and while her 'live' performances have touched the hearts of literally millions since she began her musical journey as a gospel-singing child prodigy, it is her rich legacy of recordings that are a testament to the power, majesty and genius of this one-of-a-kind artist of the first order. ........ N'joy
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Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1942. A gifted singer and pianist, Franklin toured with her father's traveling revival show and later visited New York, where she signed with Columbia Records. Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics. In 1987, she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.
The fourth of five children, Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Baptist preacher Reverend Clarence La Vaughan "C. L." Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer. Franklin's parents separated by the time she was six, and four years later her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Guided by C. L.'s preaching assignments, the family relocated to Detroit, Michigan. C. L. eventually landed at New Bethel Baptist Church, where he gained national renown as a preacher.
Aretha Franklin's musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin got her start singing in front of her father's congregation. By the age of 14, she had recorded some of her earliest tracks at his church, which were released by a small label as the album Songs of Faith in 1956. She also performed with C. L.'s traveling revival show and, while on tour, befriended gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke and Clara Ward.
But life on the road also exposed Franklin to adult behaviors, she gave birth to her first son, Clarence, shortly after she turned 14. A second child followed two years later both with unnamed fathers ! (Think of it what you will -, i know i do) After a brief hiatus, Franklin returned to performing and followed heroes such as Cooke and Dinah Washington into pop and blues territory. In 1960, with her father's blessing, Franklin traveled to New York, where after being courted by several labels, including Motown and RCA, she signed with Columbia Records, who released the album Aretha in 1961.
Though two tracks from Aretha would make the R&B Top 10, a bigger success came that same year with the single "Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," which crossed over to No. 37 on the pop charts. But while Franklin enjoyed moderate results with her recordings over the next few years, they failed to fully showcase her immense talent. In 1966, she and her new husband and manager, Ted White, decided a move was in order, and Franklin signed to Atlantic. Producer Jerry Wexler immediately shuttled Franklin to the studios at the Florence Alabama Musical Emporium.
Backed by the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section—which included session guitarists Eric Clapton and Duane Allman—Aretha recorded the single "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)." In the midst of the recording sessions, White quarreled with a member of the band, and White and Franklin left abruptly. But as the single became a massive Top 10 hit, Franklin re-emerged in New York and was able to complete the partially recorded track, "Do Right Woman—Do Right Man."
Hitting her stride in 1967 and 1968, Franklin churned out a string of hit singles that would become enduring classics, showcasing Franklin's powerful voice and gospel roots in a pop framework. In 1967, the album I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) was released, and the first song on the album, "Respect"—an empowered cover of an Otis Redding track—reached No. 1 on both the R&B and pop charts and won Aretha her first two Grammy Awards. She also had Top 10 hits with "Baby I Love You,'' "Think," "Chain of Fools,'' "I Say a Little Prayer," "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."
Franklin's chart dominance soon earned her the title "Queen of Soul," while at the same time she also became a symbol of black empowerment during the civil rights movement of the time. In 1968, Franklin was enlisted to perform at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during which she paid tribute to her father's fallen friend with a heartfelt rendition of "Precious Lord." Later that year, she was also selected to sing the national anthem to begin the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Amidst this newfound success, Franklin experienced upheaval in her personal life, and she and White divorced in 1969. But this did not slow Franklin's steady rise, and the new decade brought more hit singles, including "Don't Play That Song," "Spanish Harlem" and her cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." Spurred by Mahalia Jackson's passing and a subsequent resurgence of interest in gospel music, Franklin returned to her musical origins for the 1972 album Amazing Grace, which sold more than 2 million copies and went on to become the best-selling gospel album at the time.
Franklin's success continued throughout the 1970s, as she branched out to work with producers such as Curtis Mayfield and Quincy Jones and expanded her repertoire to include rock and pop covers. Along the way, she took home eight consecutive Grammy Awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance, the last coming for her 1974 single "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing."
But by 1975, Franklin's sound was fading into the background with the onset of the disco craze, and an emerging set of young black singers, such as Chaka Khan and Donna Summer, began to eclipse Franklin's career. She did, however, find a brief respite from slumping sales with the 1976 soundtrack to the Warner Brothers film Sparkle—which topped the R&B charts and made the Top 20 in pop—as well as an invitation to perform at the 1977 presidential inauguration of Jimmy Carter. In 1978, she also remarried, to actor Glynn Turman.
A string of chart failures ended Franklin's relationship with Atlantic in 1979. The same year, her father was hospitalized after a burglary attempt in his home left him in a coma. As her popularity waned and her father's health declined, Franklin was also saddled with a massive bill from the IRS. However, a cameo in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers helped Franklin revive her flagging career. Performing "Think'' alongside comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd exposed her to a new generation of R&B lovers, and she soon signed to Arista Records.
Her new label released 1982's Jump To It, an album that enjoyed huge success on the R&B charts and earned Franklin a Grammy nomination. Two years later, she endured a divorce from Turman as well as the death of her father.
In 1985, Franklin returned to the top of the charts with a smash-hit album: the polished pop record Who's Zoomin' Who? Featuring the single "Freeway of Love," as well as a collaboration with the popular rock band the Eurythmics, the record became Aretha's biggest-selling album yet. Her follow-up, 1986's Aretha, also charted well and eventually went gold, and her duet with British singer George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),'' hit No. 1 on the pop charts.
In 1987, Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Detroit. That same year, she released the album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which won the Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance.
Following another relatively quiet period in her career, in 1993, Franklin was invited to sing at the inauguration of Bill Clinton, and the following year she received both a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Kennedy Center Honors. She would also be the focus of multiple documentaries and tributes as the decade progressed. Nearing its conclusion, Franklin reprised her former role in Blues Brothers 2000, released the gold-selling "A Rose Is Still a Rose" and stood in for Luciano Pavarotti, who was too ill to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award, with her rendition of "Nessun Dorma" commanding stellar reviews.
So Damn Happy
In 2003, Franklin released her final studio album on Arista, So Damn Happy, and left the label to found Aretha Records. Two years later, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the second woman ever to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. In 2008, she received her 18th Grammy Award for "Never Gonna Break My Faith"—a collaboration with Mary J. Blige—and was tapped to sing at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
With 18 Grammys under her belt, Franklin is one of the most honored artists in Grammy history, ranked among the likes of Alison Krauss, Adele and Beyoncé Knowles. In 2011, Franklin released her first album on her own label, A Woman Falling Out of Love. To support the project, she performed several concerts, including a two-night stint at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York. With fans and critics alike impressed with her performances, she successfully proved that the Queen of Soul still reigns supreme.
In 2014, Franklin underscored that point with Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which reached No. 13 on the pop charts and No. 3 R&B. In February 2017, the 74-year-old Queen of Soul told Detroit radio station WDIV Local 4 that she is collaborating with Stevie Wonder to release a new album to be recorded in Detroit and released in September. “I must tell you, I am retiring this year," she said in the interview, adding: "I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now. I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”
"American history wells up when Aretha sings", president Obama explained his emotional response to her performance of "A Natural Woman" at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll--the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope".
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Spirit in the Dark was one of Aretha Franklin's more overlooked albums from her Atlantic prime, despite the inclusion of a couple hit singles (the title track and "Don't Play That Song"). The disc includes five of her own compositions (the most she ever recorded for a single album) and her usual eclectic choice of cover material. On this record, the covers ranged from B.B. King and Dr. John to Jimmy Reed and Goffin/King's "Oh Not My Baby." The album also benefits from great backup players: Both the Muscle Shoals rhythm section and the Dixie Flyers contributed to the sessions, and Duane Allman lends his guitar to a couple of tracks. Though it doesn't rank with her very best Atlantic LPs, it's an exuberant and remarkably consistent effort.
Aretha Franklin - Spirit in the Dark (flac 229mb)
01 Don't Play That Song 2:48
02 The Thrill Is Gone (From Yesterday's Kiss) 4:40
03 Pullin' 3:32
04 You And Me 3:30
05 Honest I Do 3:10
06 Spirit In The Dark 3:59
07 When The Battle Is Over 2:52
08 One Way Ticket 2:48
09 Try Matty's 2:28
10 That's All I Want From You 2:38
11 Oh No Not My Baby 3:10
12 Why I Sing The Blues 3:08
Aretha Franklin - Spirit in the Dark (ogg 94mb)
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The original LP was a double, and for good reason. Franklin used King Curtis' band, the Kingpins, for these dates -- after being persuaded by producer Jerry Wexler -- in lieu of her regular road band. It was a solid call on Wexler's part. The music here sparkles and crackles with the energy of a top-flight rhythm section -- Cornell Dupree on guitar, Bernard Purdie on drums, and Jerry Jemmott on bass, with Billy Preston on organ, Curtis on saxophone, and the Memphis Horns. The backing vocals were provided by Franklin's own crew, the Sweethearts of Soul (Brenda Bryant, Margaret Branch, and Pat Smith). Whew! Franklin also plays a Fender Rhodes on four cuts, including "Eleanor Rigby," "Spirit in the Dark," "Don't Play That Song," and "Dr. Feelgood." In addition, there is a guest duet vocal by Ray Charles on "Spirit in the Dark." Beginning with "Respect" (a house-burning tear-up read), Franklin then digs deep into her pop song bag of tricks for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With," and also redeems Bread's saccharine "Make It with You" -- all of them in the first set! The second set contains the originals "Spirit in the Dark," including a long reprise with Charles, and "Dr. Feelgood." The album-ending "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)," written by Ashford & Simpson, is a scorched-earth soul ballad that unites the entire crowd. In sum, it makes for the most dramatic and deeply satisfying of Aretha Franklin's live recordings, and is a historical document that every soul fan should own.
Aretha Franklin - Live At Fillmore West (flac 305mb)
01 Respect 3:56
02 Love The One You're With 4:21
03 Bridge Over Troubled Water 5:49
04 Eleanor Rigby 2:33
05 Make It With You 4:32
06 Don't Play That Song 3:17
07 Dr. Feelgood 7:02
08 Spirit In The Dark 5:20
09 Spirit In The Dark (Reprise With Ray Charles) 8:38
10 Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand) 2:39
Aretha Franklin - Live At Fillmore West (ogg 123mb )
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Amazing Grace is the third live album by American singer Aretha Franklin. Released on June 1, 1972 by Atlantic Records, it ultimately sold over two million copies in the United States alone, earning a double platinum certification. As of 2017, it stands as the biggest selling disc of Franklin's entire fifty-plus year recording career as well as the highest selling live gospel music album of all time. It won Franklin the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance.
The double album was recorded at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles during January 1972. A film documenting the making of the album was set to be released in 1972, but was shelved by Warner Bros.
Aretha Franklin disproved the notion that once you leave the church, you can't go back. She returned in triumph on this 1972 double album, making what might be her greatest release ever in any style. Her voice was chilling, making it seem as if God and the angels were conducting a service alongside Franklin, Rev. James Cleveland, the Southern California Community Choir, and everyone else in attendance. Her versions of "How I Got Over" and "You've Got a Friend" are legendary.
Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace (flac 483mb)
01 Mary, Don't You Weep 7:29
02 Precious Lord, Take My Hand-You've Got A Friend 5:34
03 Old Landmark 3:40
04 Give Yourself To Jesus 5:16
05 How I Got Over 4:22
06 What A Friend We Have In Jesus 6:03
07 Amazing Grace 10:45
08 Precious Memories 7:20
09 Climbing Higher Mountains 2:32
10 Remarks By Rev. C.L. Franklin 1:56
11 God Will Take Care Of You 8:48
12 Wholy Holy 5:30
13 You'll Never Walk Alone 6:31
14 Never Grow Old 9:57
. Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace (ogg 196mb)
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It's nearly impossible to single out any of Aretha Franklin's early-'70s albums for Atlantic as being her best, particularly given the breadth of her output during this era. In terms of albums rather than singles, it's probably her strongest era, and if you count live albums like Amazing Grace, choosing a standout or a favorite record isn't any easier. Yet of this stunning era, Young, Gifted and Black certainly ranks highly among her studio efforts, with many arguing that it may be her greatest. And with songs like "Rock Steady," that may be a valid argument. But there's much more here than just a few highlights. If you really want to go song by song, you'd be hard-pressed to find any throwaways here -- this is quite honestly an album that merits play from beginning to end. You have upbeat songs like the aforementioned "Rock Steady" that will get you up out of your seat moving and grooving, yet then you also have a number of more introspective songs that slow down the tempo and are more likely to relax than rouse. And if that wide spectrum of moods isn't enough reason to celebrate this album, you get some unlikely songs like a take on "The Long and Winding Road." Plus, you also have to keep in mind that Franklin was in her prime here, not only in terms of voice but also in terms of confidence -- you can just feel her exuding her status as the best of the best. Furthermore, her ensemble of musicians competes with any that she had worked with on previous albums. So even if this isn't the greatest Aretha Franklin album of the early '70s, it's certainly a contender, the sort of album that you can't go wrong with.
Aretha Franklin - Young, Gifted And Black (flac 238mb)
01 Oh Me Oh My (I'm A Fool For You Baby) 3:39
02 Day Dreaming 3:58
03 Rock Steady 3:12
04 Young, Gifted And Black 3:32
05 All The King's Horses 3:53
06 A Brand New Me 4:23
07 April Fools 3:27
08 I've Been Loving You Too Long 3:32
09 First Snow In Kokomo 4:04
10 The Long And Winding Road 3:36
11 Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) 3:40
12 Border Song (Holy Moses) 3:19
. Aretha Franklin - Young, Gifted And Black (ogg 99mb)
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