Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul Won Our R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

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Aretha Franklin won our respect. Not only did she win it, but she earned it, and she deserved it. She sang gospel and jazz and just about everything else in between. Her singing brought her to sports as she sang the national anthem at Super Bowl XL, the 1993 World Series, the 2004 NBA Finals, the 2011 ALCS in Detroit and an unforgettable rendition at the traditional 2016 Thanksgiving Day NFL Game in Detroit.

Aretha’s “been called a musical genius who seemed lost whenever she was not in front of a microphone or piano.

Not content with becoming the Queen of Soul in the late ’60s, Aretha Franklin became the greatest popular singer in American history, an artist whose electrifying voice combined the purest elements of gospel, jazz and blues, leaving fans breathless and critics tripping over their words trying to describe it.”

Unfortunately, in sports and in life, with fame invariably comes some shame. Aretha became pregnant at the tender young age of 12 and “gave birth to her first child, named Clarence after her father, on January 28, 1955. According to the news site inquisitor, the father of the child was Donald Burk, a boy she knew from school.” On January 22, 1957, then aged 14, Franklin had a second child, named Edward after his father Edward Jordan. Franklin did not like to discuss her early pregnancies with interviewers.

Franklin dealt with weight issues for years. In 1974, she dropped 40 pounds (18 kg) during a crash diet and maintained her new weight until the end of the decade. She again lost weight in the early 1990s, before gaining some back. And she was a former chain smoker who struggled with alcoholism.” And then of course she battled pancreatic cancer, that demon that destroyed her body, but could not touch her indomnimble soul.

Yet through it all, she sang. Aretha sang with her heart and with her soul. She sang till you felt the words and the meaning of those words way down on the inside. She didn’t just scratch the surface; she cut to the core and hit home. We rocked and rolled with her as she sang because her vocals touched us just like the rubber meets the road. This is why we loved her so.

This is why Aretha won and earned our respect. Just like she sang, Aretha earned our respect. Just like she sang,

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Find out what it means to me

“Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career, including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, becoming the first female performer to be inducted, National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2012, she was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In Rolling Stone Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists by Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She was ranked by Rolling Stone as the No. 1 greatest singer of all time.”

Rest in peace, Aretha. We will miss you.

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=24395972

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A Prince And A Pauper

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Music icon Prince played organized, team basketball. That’s right. 5’2” Prince played for both Bryant Junior High and Central H.S. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His H.S. coach said he was an excellent player. Prince also played (musically) the halftime show for Super Bowl  XLI in Miami in 2007. Billboard said it was the best Half Time show ever. But I missed it. I didn’t watch this half time show because I’m not a Prince fan. What a shame. And last year, Prince, a Minnesota Lynx fan, gave the team a concert at his mansion after they won the WNBA Championship.

So here’s to Prince Nelson Rodgers. While I was not a Prince Fan, I can pause and ponder and posit the effect his career had upon the music industry. He was different and dissimilar and divergent. His sudden and shocking death has distinguished him with the likes of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. They each lived kingly and queenly and princely lives as the King of Pop and the Queen of Soul and as  . . . “Prince.” Unfortunately, their departures from this life left us waning why and wondering what could have been if they could have lived a lot or even just a little bit longer.

So, since I was not a Prince fan, I feel that I am a pauper for missing out on his impact and his influence and the impression he left on song and sound and sports and society. We are princes and princesses because of an icon’s life, but we are left paupers if we do not stop for a moment or sit for a spell or at least stall and don a pall with the rest of the music world and reflect and respect and redeem the good that the great music maestros of our day delivered to us.