Aretha Franklin Essentials

Aretha Franklin Essentials

Given her stature in the culture, it's easy to forget how many boundaries Aretha Franklin broke—and gaps she bridged—to get where she got. By the time “Respect” was released in the spring 1967, on the heels of both “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” Franklin had already been through ten albums and one record deal. Along the way, she'd reconciled her gospel past with R&B's present, redefining the role of women—especially black women—in pop music. But even as she rode the waves of quiet storm and hip-hop, Franklin remained a singularly strong performer, balancing the visceral power of her singing with an elegance that seemed delicate, almost removed. It all came together in a persona that her longtime producer Jerry Wexler once described as “Our Lady of Mysterious Sorrows.”

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