There’s not a lot I can say about “The Queen of Soul,” that a myriad of writers and multiple media outlets, have not already professed. Services for the girl that began singing in her father C. L. Franklin’s church, who amazingly managed to kick the ass of “pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type” (according to her publicist) for the past several years, will take place at 10 a.m. (EDT) this Friday in Detroit. She was 76.
The hometown of the late singer, who taught herself how to play piano, will be celebrated by hundreds at the Greater Grace Temple in that city. Aretha Franklin presently lies in state (8/28-29) at the at Charles H. Wright Museum. The hearse that ushered her body to the facility has a history. A 1940 Cadillac LaSalle, it was also used for her father, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and David Ruffin of Temptations fame.
I was fortunate to be in the presence of this musical legend on three occasions. The second, was on the red carpet for Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party, who accompanied her as they entered. I asked them both three to four questions, in the harried rush of other reporters and journalists, getting their questions in. The third time, was in a studio setting where she recorded her portion of “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” for Tony Bennett’s “Duets II” CD.
The first time I saw Aretha was in concert. She was the headliner, preceded by the likes of CHIC, The Brother’s Johnson and Cameo, at the “Kool Jazz Festival.” My sister and I had to leave before the end of her set, as it began to rain when Nile Rodgers and crew, were on the arena stage just before her. By the time Franklin performed, the rain had elevated to monsoon proportions, but the show must go on… “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” for truly one of the best to ever do it! Links for stories from the Associated Press, Billboard and Rolling Stone below…
for the LOVE of Soul, FUNK and Aretha