The voice is instantly recognizable for there is truly no other voice like it. A national treasure, a voice that has brought joy to countless millions the world over through a distinguished career filled with accomplishment and achievement. When you get right down to it, her appeal is - as it has always been - her ability to bring realness to each and every song she sings. Whether or not she has personally experienced the situations expressed in the material she chooses, Aretha can relate and for sure, so can the record buyers who have been enjoying the majesty of her talent time after time.
Aretha's musical legacy is quite simply, peerless. From her teen years as the daughter of the nationally revered Reverend C.L. Franklin, touring the highways and byways of the gospel circuit thrilling audiences with her God-given gift to her early days as a recording artist with Columbia Records - where she was a remarkable interpreter of a whole range of musical styles from jazz, pop, R&B, Broadway and standards - the Memphis-born, Detroit-raised icon has always added her own unique stamp to a unparalleled diversity of music.
Signed to Atlantic Records, Aretha's artistry came to international attention via a non-stop run of now-classic hits. "Respect," "Think," "A Natural Woman," "Chain Of Fools," "Until You Come Back To Me" and so many other songs helped shape the music of a generation along with repertoire highlights like her own "Dr. Feelgood (Love Is A Serious Business)," "You Send Me," "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and "I Say A Little Prayer."
In 1980, Aretha began her association with Arista Records and the hits continued: "Freeway Of Love," "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Jump To It" (produced by musical pal and friend Luther Vandross), "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me," (a duet with George Michael) and "Willing To Forgive" were just some of the tracks on the 1994 platinum album, "Greatest Hits (1990-1994)." Always attuned to current music and yet always maintaining her own musical integrity, Aretha worked with '90s hitmaker Lauryn Hill on her best-sellng "A Rose Is Still A Rose" set alongside hit producers P. Diddy, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Daryl Simmons and others; the result - which included her own "The Woman" hailed as "arguably her most soulful performance in years' by All Music Guide - was one of Aretha's best-selling albums, spurred by the response to the title cut, a gold-selling Top 5 R&B and Top 30 pop single.
As "A Rose" demonstrated, Aretha Franklin's music cuts across generations, appealing to longtime fans as well as young admirers who are discovering why Aretha is so frequently mentioned as a major musical influence by such artists as Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Missy Elliott, Ashanti, Faith Evans, Kelly Price and Hill. Her classic hits have been featured in countless movies and television shows and in concert, Aretha's powerhouse performances continue to elicit rave reviews and sold-out shows.
Contributed by David Nathan, http://www.soulmusic.com/
Update: Arethat is completing an album of duets, due for 2007 release. Also, plans are underway for the stage adaptation of Aretha Franklin's autobiography Aretha: From These Roots, with the musical play to hit stages in 2007. The play will start with Aretha's childhood in Detroit and will go through her emergence as one of music's greatest stars.