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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Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) was just about Franklin's last gasp before succumbing to disco. From the beginning it is obvious that this represents an expansion beyond normal pop and soul structure musically, and it has lyrics that are somewhat abstract and subtle, saying or implying more than the average tune about getting together and breaking up. Some of the tracks are pretty complex. The title cut starts out hip, funky, jazzy, with prominent piano, then morphs into a slow dreamlike section with smooth strings, and then it's back to funky. Aretha's voice is in excellent form, and the back-up singers are also good, as always. "So Swell When You're Well" and "Sister From Texas" continue in a similar vein - funked-up soul, like that found on "Aretha Now". "Mister Spain" is obviously an ode to a very sexy dude. The vocal starts out low-key, sultry, seductive and drawn out for full effect; but, after a laid-back jazzy interlude, Aretha goes all out with emotional, sometimes playful, expression. "Moody's Mood" alternates between rapid-fire scatting and standard soul, back and forth. I like the track, but one like this is enough for me. For her too, I guess, because she ends the song by declaring, "I'm thru." The hit of the album, "Angel", was always gorgeous to me, and it fits in with the other tracks with its full-bodied sound, including harmonious strings and dramatic horns. "Just Right Tonight" is good, serious old-style blues musically. The vocal sneaks in with some soft humming and wailing but builds into a strong gospel piece. It also contains some sly spoken comments that only Aretha could get away with. The bonus track, "Master of Eyes", retains the prevailing jazzy feel of the album and the effect of growth beyond regular pop and soul.
Aretha Franklin - Hey Now Hey (flac 268mb)
01 Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) 4:41
02 Somewhere 6:14
03 So Swell When You're Well 4:14
04 Angel 4:26
05 Sister From Texas 3:08
06 Mister Spain 6:41
07 That's The Way I Feel About Cha 7:10
08 Moody's Mood 2:55
09 Just Right Tonight 7:42
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This is her first album with Arista after ending a 13-year, largely successful stint with Atlantic Records. By as early as 1973, Franklin's album turnout became spotty as late-'70s entries, Sweet Passion and La Diva came and went quickly. For Aretha, Arista label president Clive Davis drummed out a certain amount of fanfare for this initial effort, and for the most part it was deserved. Aretha attempts to pull out all of the stops, which is suitable for a major artist coming to a new label. The best moments here reestablish Franklin as a phenomenal singer, not just an icon. The brilliantly sung "United Together" and autumnal "Come to Me" have both Franklin and producer Chuck Jackson seemingly like they'd recorded together for years. What undoes Aretha is a few overproduced tracks of dubious distinction. The too busy cover of the Doobie Brothers "What a Fool Believes" fails Franklin, skimming past the song's lyrical. Her gospel-fueled childhood recollection "School Days" and a discofied cover of "I Can't Turn You Loose" are both ingratiating and potentially nerve racking. This effort was meant to reestablish Franklin, and it was more popular than most of her late-'70s Atlantic albums.
Aretha Franklin - Aretha (flac 274mb)
01 Come To Me 3:42
02 Can't Turn You Loose 3:55
03 United Together 5:02
04 Take Me With You 4:05
05 Whatever It Is 3:38
06 What A Fool Believes 5:12
07 Together Again 5:16
08 Love Me Forever 3:34
09 School Days 4:58
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After an almost-two-year hiatus from the charts, the Queen of Soul returned in style with three Billboard R&B Top Ten singles, including the number one smash hit "Freeway of Love," which featured a festive rhythm arrangement, an electric sax solo by Clarence Clemons, and Aretha Franklin's lively vocals. It held the number one spot for five straight weeks. The title track, "Who's Zoomin' Who," has a sputtering bassline and chiming keyboards augmented by Franklin's soulful delivery, and her improvised ad libs are laudable, to say the least. The single peaked at number two for four consecutive weeks. She had another Top Ten hit with "Another Night," a midtempo number with a light rock feel. It was a number nine hit. Her duet with the Eurythmics, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves," faltered at number 66. Narada Michael Walden is credited with the majority of the production on this sound outing.
Aretha Franklin - Who's Zoomin' Who (flac 307mb)
01 Freeway Of Love 6:00
02 Another Night 4:30
03 Sweet Bitter Love 5:11
04 Who's Zoomin' Who? 4:43
05 Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves (With The Eurythmics) 5:54
06 Until You Say You Love Me 4:23
07 Ain't Nobody Ever Loved You 4:53
08 Push (With Peter Wolf) 4:36
09 Integrity 4:25
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"Yo, gang! let's kick the ballistics!" shouts Aretha Franklin in the opening moments of "Everyday People," her spirited house-music remake of Sly Stone's classic hippie anthem. The song, which is heard in regular and remixed versions on What You See Is What You Sweat, is one of the high points of an album that credits nine producers and production teams. Although the material runs a gamut of styles, Franklin infuses her personality so indelibly into every song that somehow it all holds together. Franklin brings more spirit than usual to the record, What You See Is What You Sweat stands as one of her better albums. If the songs are uneven, they don't prevent the Queen of Soul from exuberantly expressing the breadth of her musical personality, from regal pop-gospel diva to funky everyday person.
Aretha Franklin - What You See Is What You Sweat (flac 305mb)
01 Everyday People 3:49
02 Ever Changing Times (Feat Michael McDonald) 5:10
03 What You See Is What You Sweat 4:20
04 Mary Goes Round 3:05
05 I Dreamed A Dream 4:15
06 Someone Else's Eyes 4:56
07 Doctor's Orders (With Luther Vandross) 4:35
08 You Can't Take Me For Granted 5:10
09 What Did You Give 4:59
10 Everyday People 4:07
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