The Life Of Aretha FranklineBook
Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. She found fame, fortune, and that remarkable voice in 1967 with "Respect" and a rapid-fire string of hits. Aretha turned the industry on its head by refueling pop with heavy soul. The Queen of Soul had survived, and arrived. In this book, David Ritz uses exclusive interviews with her closest family, friends and associates to write movingly of Aretha's path and the extraordinary highs and deep lows she encountered along the way. Just as she was reestablishing her divadom in the 1980s with hits like "Freeway of Love," personal tragedy--the deaths of her father, sisters and brother--threw her into isolation. Whenever it seems the Queen has relinquished her reign, she appears in scenes of ever greater drama and national significance. In 1998, when an ailing Luciano Pavarotti could not appear at the Grammy Awards, she came out of the shadows and stunned the world with a version of "Nessun Dorma" that was pure pop soul. From the moving elegies she performed at the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to her dramatic performance at President Obama's first inauguration, Aretha has become our nation's voice. Again and again, Aretha Franklin stubbornly finds a way to triumph over troubles, conquering them even as they continue to build. Her hold on her crown is tenacious, and in Respect, David Ritz gives us the decisive and definitive study of one of the greatest talents in all of American culture.