My own memories of Aretha Franklin, a native of Memphis TN, go all the way back to nearly the beginning of Motown history, though Aretha’s first recording was for DOXY records.
Her discography from as early as 1956 shows that she worked for a plenty of recording companies, but Motown wasn’t one of them.
And like most other little girls BITD, I wanted to sing, too. We always wondered what it was they were putting in the water in the Mighty Mississippi River that sprouted such extraordinary talent, from Tina Turner, Elvis Presley and BB King to country music artists like Tammi Wynette, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton.
Later on, we discovered it was probably downright outright P O V E R T Y, as in “sing, child, sing for your supper.”
From throwing towels on my head and pretending to be Cher covering “I Got You Babe” and putting on slinky dresses (I could dream) sticking my legs out like Tina Turner “rolling on a river” and sitting down playing air piano like Aretha Franklin belting out my personal ReeRee favorite “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, who didn’t want to be a star?
But the likenings of nature don’t make room for everybody to gain the status of singing Superstars, (I wanted to be a part of The REVOLUTION as a young adult, too) … and I still can’t sing or play an instrument now.
But … Aretha “ReeRee” Franklin was not only the Queen of Soul music, but at one time, she was close enough to being declared the Queen of Gospel … but the lovely ladies Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson and Shirley Caesar equally shared that title.
Rest in Peace, Ree … they did it up like you were CLASS A ROYALTY. You will be sorely missed.
R- E- S- P- E- C- T A Q- U- E- E- N!
Grilllll, Ree, you would have LOVED that red dress and them heels.
PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.
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