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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For much of the '90s, Aretha Franklin acted as if she couldn't even care about appealing to a younger audience. She rarely recorded, and when she did, it was usually slick adult contemporary material. That's what makes the fresh A Rose Is Still a Rose such a surprise. Although it certainly has its share of predictably glossy ballads fit for adult radio (usually produced by Narada Michael Walden or Michael Powell), the most notable element of the album is that Franklin collaborates with fresh talent, all of whom are either prominent rap figures or at least fluent in hip-hop. That's not to say that A Rose Is Still a Rose is a rap album -- it simply illustrates that the album sounds contemporary, which is the last thing most observers would have expected from Franklin in 1997. That in itself is heartening, but that doesn't necessarily mean everything works. Lauryn Hill's "A Rose Is Still a Rose" is a perfect match, lyrically and musically, but it only shows how shallow Puff Daddy's writing really is on "Never Leave You Again." Still, Dallas Austin's "I'll Dip," Jermaine Dupri's "Here We Go Again" and "Every Lil' Bit Hurts," and Daryl Simmons' "In the Morning" and "In Case You Forgot" all work, and Franklin's original "The Woman" is arguably her most soulful performance in years. Lauryn Hill, Puff Daddy and other hot hitmakers plied fresh beats and old-school samples to aim Aretha's R&B at young ears.as they find Franklin sounding vital.
Aretha Franklin - A Rose Is Still A Rose (flac 348mb)
01 A Rose Is Still A Rose 4:27
02 Never Leave You Again 4:36
03 In Case You Forgot 4:49
04 Here We Go Again 3:30
05 Every Lil' Bit Hurts 4:07
06 In The Morning 4:56
07 I'll Dip 4:06
08 How Many Times 4:21
09 Watch My Back 4:45
10 Love Pang 4:20
11 The Woman 7:41
Aretha Franklin - A Rose Is Still A Rose (ogg 116mb)
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During the five years that separated So Damn Happy from her previous album, A Rose Is Still a Rose, Aretha Franklin made the celebrity-gossip pages many more times than she earned airplay on the radio. Neatly side-stepping her problems with the law (including the mysterious circumstances that surrounded the fire at her home), Aretha's return to the studio illustrates that her power lies not in managing her career but in putting across any song that comes her way. Recording mostly in Detroit with a small group, she tempered the hip-hop inclinations of A Rose Is Still a Rose to deliver a refreshing (though admittedly sterilized) update of her '70s records. Various producers and songwriters -- including Troy Taylor, Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence, and Jam & Lewis -- give her backgrounds composed of earthy, acoustic-driven soul, similar to contemporary records by India.Arie or Jill Scott. Most of the songs, led by "The Only Thing Missin'," the title track, and "Holdin' On," are up to a high level, catchy and easy to understand (all the better to simply luxuriate in Aretha's powerful voice). Also, two mild concessions to the hip-hop world end up paying off: guest Mary J. Blige arranged the backing vocals for two songs, both of which reach a level not seen since the days of the Sweet Inspirations, while producer Ron "Amen-Ra" Lawrence delivered an organic arrangement for a song called "Wonderful" that evokes the glory days of '70s soul more than any other song here. Aretha shouldn't need to resort to overkill to proclaim her joy at making music; the songs on So Damn Happy are all the proof her fans need to understand that her talent remains undiminished nearly 50 years after her debut as a secular act.
Aretha Franklin - So Damn Happy (flac 274mb)
01 The Only Thing Missin' 3:07
02 Wonderful 4:04
03 Holdin' On 4:36
04 No Matter What 4:32
05 Everybody's Somebody's Fool 4:35
06 So Damn Happy 4:28
07 You Are My Joy 2:33
08 Falling Out Of Love 4:30
09 Ain't No Way 4:36
10 Good News 4:53
11 You Are My Joy (Reprise) 2:33
Aretha Franklin - So Damn Happy (ogg 105mb )
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Aretha Franklin's recordings for Atlantic in the late 1960s and early 1970s are universally acknowledged as her best, and this two-CD set draws exclusively from that era, spanning late 1966 to 1973. Aside from the B-sides "Pledging My Love/The Clock" and "Lean on Me," everything here is a demo, outtake, or alternate version -- a real hoard of largely previously unheard material from the prime of one of the greatest soul singers. Franklin and Atlantic did exercise sound judgment as to what to select for release, however. So these recordings, as valuable as they'll be for soul fans to hear, are neither on par with her best official work nor revelatory insofar as uncovering hidden gems or unsuspected stylistic detours. Still, what's here is characteristic Franklin soul, which is satisfying enough. Historically speaking, the most fascinating of these vault finds may be the three late-1966 demos that lead off the set, including early versions of "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Dr. Feelgood," although the rudimentary arrangements (just voice, piano, bass, and drums) illustrate how vital Jerry Wexler's production was to getting the most out of the material. Otherwise the tracks reflect the diversity of the songs Aretha was putting on her official Atlantic releases, encompassing covers of tunes penned by James Brown, her sister Carolyn Franklin, Motown, Van McCoy, Leonard Cohen, and Gene McDaniels, and even including a pass at "My Way" (as well as several items whose composers remain unknown). Stylistically the palette is broad, too, from wailing near-bluesy soul to near-pop, usually played with tight soul combos, but wrapping up with a solo piano demo of "Are You Leaving Me." The early-'70s recordings on the second disc don't have quite the energy and quality of the first, though they're still performances most artists would envy, taking in mild funk, earthy gospel, and a slight creeping slick pop influence. As for the track that seems most inexplicably passed over for release back in the day, that would be the bold, pounding McCoy-authored 1968 outtake "So Soon."
Aretha Franklin - Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul (flac 313mb)
01 I Never Loved A Man Like You (Demo) 4:04
02 Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business (Demo) 4:43
03 Sweet Bitter Love (Demo) 5:12
04 It Was You 3:45
05 The Letter 3:38
06 So Soon 2:47
07 Mr. Big 2:41
08 Talk To Me, Talk To Me 3:29
09 The Fool On The Hill 3:31
10 Pledging My Love/The Clock 4:13
11 You're Taking Another Man's Place 3:30
12 You Keep Me Hangin' On 3:10
13 I'm Trying To Overcome 5:06
14 My Way 4:08
15 My Cup Runneth Over 3:22
16 You're All I Need To Get By (Take 1) 0:42
17 You're All I Need To Get By (Take 2) 3:37
18 Lean On Me 4:37
. Aretha Franklin - Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul (ogg 154mb)
Aretha Franklin - Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul 2 (flac 307mb)
01 Rock Steady 4:30
02 I Need A Strong Man (The To-To Song) 3:56
03 Heavenly Father 5:38
04 Sweetest Smile And The Funkiest Side 3:48
05 This Is 3:37
06 Tree Of Life 5:12
07 Do You Know 2:49
08 Can You Love Again 2:40
09 I Want To Be With You 6:02
10 Suzanne 5:13
11 That's The Way I Feel About Cha (Alternate Version) 5:45
12 Ain't But The One 6:08
13 The Happy Blues 2:29
14 At Last 3:25
15 Love Letters 4:03
16 I'm In Love (Alternate Vocal) 3:01
17 Are You Leaving Me (Demo) 4:23
. Aretha Franklin - Rare & Unreleased Recordings From The Golden Reign Of The Queen Of Soul 2 (ogg 181mb)
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Clive Davis signed Aretha Franklin to Arista in 1980 and helped pull the queen of soul out of a commercial slump. In 2014, Aretha and Davis reunited after 14 years for this all-covers affair. The latter once again rolled out the red carpet. Babyface and Antonio Dixon produced most of the songs, while the list of background vocalists and instrumentalists, including Cissy Houston, Tawatha Agee, Fonzi Thornton, and Greg Phillinganes, is bound to excite old heads. If there's one positive thing that can be said about the results, it's that Aretha sounds like she had a ball. The energy she put into these versions helps make up for the vocal shortcomings and audible use of Auto-Tune. She could have played it simple and straight, yet she clearly enjoyed the recording process, from melismatic accents to an abundance of personalized touches, such as the "raggedy hooptie" added to "Midnight Train to Georgia," and the "ham hocks and greens" thrown into a swinging André 3000-produced "Nothing Compares 2 U." Some of the creative moves are very questionable. Her take on Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" oddly incorporates "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," a Motown classic opposite in sentiment. Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" -- "Beat it! Get to steppin'! Keep it movin'! Get on down the road, all right?" -- involves a diversion into Destiny's Child's "Survivor" -- a better match when it comes to subject matter, but there's an awkward transition over incongruous booming bass and strings. High on star power and exuberance, this is an album nonetheless highlighted by a reggae makeover of Alicia Keys' "No One."
Aretha Franklin - Sings The Great Diva Classics (flac 289mb)
01 At Last 3:53
02 Rolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version) 4:00
03 Midnight Train To Georgia 4:21
04 I Will Survive (The Aretha Version) 4:31
05 People 4:04
06 No One 4:01
07 I'm Every Woman/Respect 4:56
08 Teach Me Tonight 2:41
09 You Keep Me Hangin' On 4:41
10 Nothing Compares 2 U 4:17
. Aretha Franklin - Sings The Great Diva Classics (ogg 97mb)
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