To say that Aretha Franklin was one of the greatest American artists of all time is an understatement. His multi-octave voice has moved millions of people around the world during an unparalleled career that spanned six decades and earned the singer-songwriter every achievement and honor imaginable. Her reign as “Queen of Soul” will span four discs on a new set from Rhino which is the first to span her entire career, including songs from every label she has recorded with.
Aretha, originally slated for release last year, will now arrive July 30 on CD ($ 59.98) and digitally. Of the 81 newly remastered tracks in the collection, 19 make their debut on CD and digital, including alternate versions of classic hits, demos, rarities and live tracks, like his superb performance of “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman “at the 38th Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.
To put Franklin’s life and career in perspective, the collection is accompanied by accompanying notes written by Rochelle Riley, author and director of arts and culture for the City of Detroit, and David Nathan, founder and historian of Soulmusic. .com who has interviewed Franklin more times any other living writer. The collection also includes stunning works of art by renowned Makeba artist KEEBS Rainey, who gives his signature style to a classic portrait of the ‘Queen of Soul’ by renowned photographer Neal Preston. Rhino’s new set will arrive shortly before the premiere of The respect, the highly anticipated biopic on Franklin’s life with Jennifer Hudson. Single CD ($ 15.98) and 2-LP ($ 31.98) versions containing 20 flagship tracks from the box will also be available on the same day.
Franklin’s unreleased studio version of Debby Boone’s # 1 hit “You Light Up My Life” is available digitally today. Although Franklin performed the song live and on television, the 1978 studio recording has remained unknown until now and boasts one of his most powerful vocal performances of the time. Click here to listen now.
Classified mainly in chronological order, Aretha opens with “Never Grow Old” and “You Grow Closer”, which were released as her first single in 1956 by JVB Records. She notably recorded these gospel songs at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, CL Franklin, was the longtime pastor.
The following 10 songs focus on the period between 1960 and 1966 when Franklin was signed to Columbia Records. The music includes her first single with the label (“Today I Sing The Blues”), her first single to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Won’t Be Long”), plus top 40 R&B hits “Runnin ‘Out Of Fools”, “One Step Ahead” and “Cry Like A Baby”.
The majority of Aretha is dedicated to his record tenure with Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1979, which included five consecutive No. 1 R&B albums. In fact, the collection’s first two unreleased songs – “My Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)” and “Try A Little Tenderness “- are house demos she recorded in 1966 to give Atlantic executive and producer Jerry Wexler some idea of ââthe possible material for her debut record label LP. âMy Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)â finds Franklin replacing the classic âChicagoâ lyrics from the Sinatra version of the song with a legend in his hometown of Detroit.
Franklin’s biggest hits are also there, like “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”, “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” and his signature “Respect”. But instead of using familiar takes for other hits, the collection selects different versions, like alternate takes of âChain Of Foolsâ, âRock Steadyâ and âSpanish Harlemâ; live recordings of “Baby I Love You” and “Don’t Play That Song”; and “Think” recorded for The blue brothers soundtrack.
His early ’70s collaboration with producer Quincy Jones is revisited with a trio of unreleased recordings, including Franklin’s original “The Boy From Bombay” and a stunning alternate version of his take on Sondheim and Bernstein’s classic “Somewhere “.
Aretha also highlights his best work with Arista Records between 1980 and 2007. Hits from this era include hits like “Jump To It” and “Freeway Of Love”. This period was also marked by a number of memorable collaborations, including âSisters Are Doin ‘It For Themselvesâ with Eurythmics and the # 1 hit âI Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)â with George Michael.
Even for longtime fans, Aretha reserves many surprises. Best examples are the many unreleased working tapes and demos for hits like “Angel”, “Until You Come Back To Me” and “Brand New Me”. The set also includes the CD and digital debuts of several television appearances, including duets with Tom Jones (“It’s Not Unusual / See Saw”), Smokey Robinson (“Ooo Baby Baby”) and Dionne Warwick (” I Say A Little Prayer. â) Finally, the collection brings together rarities such as its cover ofâ Someday We’ll All Be Free âby Donny Hathaway from Malcom X soundtrack and his mind-blowing live performance of “Nessun Dorma.
For more information visit Aretha Franklin | Rhinoceros.