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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN SINGER AND MUSICIAN ARETHA LOUISE FRANKLIN - AN INTERNATIONAL SUPER STAR : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "

                BLACK                 SOCIAL             HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Aretha Louise Franklin  born March 25, 1942 is an American singer and musician. Franklin began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin's church as a child. In 1960, at age 18, Franklin embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Think". These hits and more helped her to gain the title The Queen of Soul by the end of the 1960s decade.
Franklin eventually recorded a total of 88 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart's history. Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love YouLady SoulYoung, Gifted & Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s. After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with a cameo role in the film, The Blues Brothers and with the albums,Jump to It and Who's Zoomin' Who. In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria, "Nessun Dorma", at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she recorded her final top 40 recording with "A Rose Is Still a Rose".
Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling female artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, in which she placed number 9, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in which she topped the latter list.

Early life

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Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Barbara (née) Siggers and Clarence LaVaughn Franklin. Her father, who went by the nickname, "C. L.", was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist. Alongside Aretha, her parents had three other children while both C. L. and Barbara had children from outside their marriage. The family relocated to Buffalo, New York when Aretha was two. Prior to her fifth birthday, C. L. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he founded the Baptist church, New Bethel. Franklin's parents had a troubled marriage due to stories of C. L. Franklin's philandering and in 1948, they separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous affair.
Contrary to popular notion, Franklin's mother didn't abandon her children and Aretha would recall seeing her mother in Buffalo during summertime while Barbara also frequently visited her children in Detroit.[7] Franklin's mother died on March 7, 1952, prior to Franklin's tenth birthday. Several women, including Franklin's grandmother Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. During this time, Franklin learned how to play piano by ear. Franklin's father's emotionally-driven sermons resulted in him being known as the man with the "million-dollar voice" and earning over thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country. Franklin's celebrity led to his home being visited by various celebrities including gospel musicians Clara Ward, James Cleveland and early Caravans members Albertina Walker and Inez Andrews as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.

Music career

Beginnings

Just after her mother's death, Aretha began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn, "Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me". Four years later, when Aretha was 14, her father began managing her, bringing her on the road with him during his so-called "gospel caravan" tours for her to perform in various churches.[15] He helped his daughter get signed to her first recording deal with J.V.B. Records, where her first album, Songs of Faith, was issued in 1956. Two singles were released to gospel radio stations including "Never Grow Old" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand". Franklin sometimes traveled with the Caravans and The Soul Stirrers during this time and developed a crush on Sam Cooke, who was then singing with the Soul Stirrers prior to his secular career.
After turning 18, Aretha confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music. Serving as her manager, C. L. agreed to the move and helped to produce a two-song demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records, who agreed to sign her in 1960. Franklin was signed as a "five-percent artist". During this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Aretha's father to have his label, RCA sign Aretha. He had also been persuaded by local record label owner Berry Gordy to sign Aretha and her elder sister Erma to his Tamla label. Aretha's father felt the label wasn't established enough yet. Aretha's first Columbia single, "Today I Sung the Blues", was issued in September 1960 and later reached the top ten of the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers chart.

Initial success

In January 1961, Columbia issued Aretha's debut album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo. The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, "Won't Be Long", which also peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart. Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin's Columbia recordings saw her recording in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues. Before the year was out, Franklin scored her first top 40 single with her rendition of the standard, "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody", which also included the R&B hit, "Operation Heartbreak", on its b-side. "Rock-a-Bye" became her first international hit, reaching the top 40 in Australia and Canada. By the end of 1961, Franklin was named as a "new-star female vocalist" in Down Beat magazine. In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, the latter of which charted number 69 on the Billboard Pop LPs chart.
By 1964, Franklin began recording more pop music, reaching the top ten on the R&B chart with the ballad, "Runnin' Out of Fools" in early 1965. She had two R&B charted singles in 1965 and 1966 with the songs "One Step Ahead" and "Cry Like a Baby" while also reaching the Easy Listening charts with the ballads "You Made Me Love You" and "(No, No) I'm Losing You". By the mid-1960s, Aretha was netting $100,000 from countless performances in nightclubs and theaters. Also during that period, Franklin appeared on rock and roll shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go and Shindig!. However, it was argued that Franklin's potential was neglected at the label. Columbia executive John H. Hammond later said he felt Columbia didn't understand Aretha's early gospel background and failed to bring that aspect out further during her Columbia period.

Commercial success

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In January 1967, choosing not to renew her Columbia contract after six years with the company, Franklin signed to Atlantic Records. That month, Aretha traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at FAME Studios to record the song, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" in front of the musicians of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. The song was later issued that February and shot up to number-one on the R&B chart, while also peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Aretha her first top ten pop single. The song's b-side, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", reached the R&B top 40, peaking at number 37. In April, Atlantic issued her frenetic version of Otis Redding's "Respect", which shot to number-one on both the R&B and pop charts and later became her signature song and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist anthem.
Aretha's debut Atlantic album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, also became commercially successful, later going gold. Aretha scored two more top ten singles in 1967 including "Baby I Love You" and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman". Franklin's rapport with producer Jerry Wexler helped in the creation of the majority of Aretha's peak recordings with Atlantic. In 1968, she issued the top-selling albums, Lady Soul and Aretha Now, which included some of Franklin's most popular hit singles including "Chain of Fools", "Ain't No Way", "Think" and "I Say a Little Prayer". In February 1968, Franklin earned the first two of her Grammys including the debut category for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. On February 16, 1968, Aretha was honored with a day in her honor and was greeted by longtime friend Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians just two months prior to his death In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

Franklin's success expanded during the early 1970s in which she recorded top ten singles such as "Spanish Harlem", "Rock Steady" and "Day Dreaming" as well as the acclaimed albums, Spirit in the DarkYoung, Gifted & Black and her gospel album, Amazing Grace, which sold over two million copies. In 1971, Franklin became the first R&B performer to headline Fillmore West, later recording the live album,Aretha Live at Fillmore West. Franklin's career began experiencing issues while recording the album, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), which featured production from Quincy Jones. Despite the success of the single, "Angel", the album bombed upon its release in 1973. Franklin continued having R&B success with songs such as "Until You Come Back to Me" and "I'm in Love" but by 1975, her albums and songs were failing to become a success. After Jerry Wexler left Atlantic for Warner Bros. Records in 1976, Franklin worked on the sound track to the film, "Sparkle", with Curtis Mayfield. The album yielded Aretha's final top 40 hit of the decade, "Something He Can Feel", which also peaked at number-one on the R&B chart. Franklin's follow-up albums for Atlantic including Sweet PassionAlmighty Fire and La Diva




































































































































































 bombed on the charts and in 1979, Franklin opted to leave the company.