We salute the queen, Aretha Franklin, from gospel, to soul, to rock, to pop, to opera… she reigned!
March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018
If you want my lovin’, If you really do
Don’t be afraid baby, Just ask me
Ya know I’m gonna give it to you
Oh and I do declare (I do), I wanna see you with it
Stretch out your arms little boy, Your gonna get it
Cause I love you oh, (Baby, baby, baby I love you)
There ain’t no doubt about it , Baby I love you
(Baby, baby, baby I love you)
I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, baby I love you
“Baby I Love You” was released on the “Aretha Arrives” album in 1967. It was a huge hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles. I became aware of the song in late 70’s and to this day I still throwback to it. It is my favorite Aretha song!
This PHENOM was a gifted pianist who exuded brilliance when sitting behind the piano. She was one of the best singers in the world. Her songs were the soundtrack for many generations. I can remember growing up listening to… “Baby I Love You” (1967), “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (1967), “Respect” (1967), “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (1967) “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968), “I Say a Little Prayer” (1968), “Call Me” (1970), “Rock Steady” (1971), “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1971), “Day Dreaming” (1972) , “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” (1974), “Something He Can Feel” (1976), “Jump to It” (1982), “Freeway of Love” (1985) ,“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (1987), “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (1998).
Aretha kept us singing throughout the years. Not only did she have the classics mentioned above, she would take us to church on such masterworks as “Precious Lord”, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep”, “Sweeping through the City”, “Walk In The Light” and Amazing Grace to name a few. She was light on her feet and could “Pick Em’ Up and Put Em’ Down” with the best of them.
She performed for and was honored by President’s Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and even performed for Pope Francis. Her voice was a national treasure. She crossed genres with grace and ease and commanded every room she entered.
It was 30 minutes into the 1998 Grammy Awards and with only 20 minutes notice, Aretha stepped in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti. Unrehearsed, she performed his famous arias, “Nessun Dorma,”. I remember watching the performance and being in awe of her mastery. It was beautiful! I had no idea what the Italian words meant but, her vocal prowess left me mesmerized.