I’m sure you’ve heard by now that The First Lady of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is in hospice care, nearing the end of her fight with pancreatic cancer. She and I both celebrate our birthdays on March 25, so I’ve always felt a kinship with her. I’ve featured her twice on Two for Tuesday. The first time was in 2013, when I was celebrating people with birthdays in common with mine.
Aretha Franklin started singing in her father’s church when she was ten, and in the sixty-one years since has become one of the iconic performers in R&B, Soul, Gospel, and Popular music. Rolling Stone ranked her Number One on their list of 100 Best Singers of All Time, as well as #9 on their Best Performers of All Time. The legendary John Hammond considered her the greatest singer since Billie Holiday. And she shares my birthday, March 25. I don’t know many people who haven’t been affected by Aretha Franklin’s singing. You don’t listen to her music as much as feel it.
She has done so many great songs and albums over the years that I finally just threw up my hands and said, I’m just going to pick two of my favorite songs of hers. The first is “Day Dreaming,” off of her 1972 album, Young, Gifted, and Black. It spent two weeks at #1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart in April 1972, and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second is “I Say A Little Prayer,” a cover of Dionne Warwick’s hit from December 1967. Dionne’s version reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #8 on the magazine’s R&B chart. Aretha recorded it as the B-side of her single “The House That Jack Built,” and it still rose to #10 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in August of 1968.
Birthday greetings to the “First Lady of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, our Two for Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
The second time was last June, when I was talking about musical artists from my high school days.
Aretha Franklin spent 25 weeks in the Top Ten during my high school days, with five songs. Strangely, none of those songs reached #1.
“Spanish Harlem” was a hit for her in August 1971. It spent six weeks in the top ten, peaking at #2.
“Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” also spent six weeks in the top ten, starting in February 1974. It peaked at #3.
Back in March 2013, I dedicated the month to people who share my birthday, March 25, and Ms. Franklin is one of them. You can see what I talked about there.
Aretha Franklin, your Two for Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
Vaya con Dios, Aretha Franklin.