Aretha Franklin died today. I know everyone and their sister will want to write something to say how much she meant to them, so I do not want to be left out. I don’t like to admit to my actual age, especially since I think people will pay my writing no mind once they know it, but I am only 3 years younger than Aretha Franklin. First all it reminds me that I am at the end of my life. But what really strikes me is that we lived through the same decades and she sang songs that spoke to me all through those decades. She had talent she was born with and that she honed through practice and hard work and that talent carried her through a spectacular 50 year career.
She said she was not an avowed feminist, but she was beloved by women everywhere who realized that women are sisters at heart, sisters whose lives involve love and break ups and feeling empowered, feeling joyful, and feeling low down. She was an activist in the civil rights movement and we, who lived through those same decades, felt connected with Aretha through the social and political movements that have punctuated our days. My admiration for Aretha has accompanied me and her music has lifted me up; it has been belted out by me in the privacy of my home while I did my housecleaning; it has made me smile as she sang from my car radio while I did my errands or on long trips. I don’t want to miss her, because she has left a legacy for all of us that will continue to move us. I think it is more in line to celebrate a life well-lived. But my sympathies are with her family and friends who knew her well enough to miss the person, as well as the musician. From what I hear she was even greater in person.
This was the first album I owned by Aretha Franklin and it had so many great songs. You can look up the discography of all her albums on Discogs or ASCAP or All Music or even on Wikipedia.
In fact Discogs gets attribution for this album picture, although they most likely do not own it.
- Songs on this album:
- Baby, I Love You
- I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
- Chain of Fools
- Do Right Woman – Do Right Man
- (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
- Sweet, sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone
- Ain’t No Way
- See Saw
- The House That Jack Built
- I Say a Little Prayer
- The Weight
- Eleanor Rigby
- Share Your Love with Me
- Call me
I also love many later songs like Pink Cadillac and Who’s Zoomin’ Who. My little eulogy to a much loved star of music and life must include a video.
Can someone exist in this life and in the next life at the same time? If you love anyone who has died you know that it is possible. Thanks for the body of work you have left to comfort us in this life of joy and pain. And thanks for sharing your talents with us. We don’t always make that easy.