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Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, 1942-2018

Today we lost a Detroit superstar and an American legend in Aretha Franklin. But she will live on with her indomitable sound. 

A frank examination of Aretha Franklin, Mark Bego's definitive biography traces her career accomplishments from her beginnings as a twelve-year-old member of a church choir in the early 1950s, to recording her first album at the age of fourteen and signing a major recording contract at eighteen, right up through her headline-grabbing 2010 health scare. Originally positioned to become a gospel star in her father's Detroit church, Aretha had a privileged urban upbringing--stars such as Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, and Sam Cooke regularly visited her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin. It wasn't long before she was creating a string of hits, from "Respect" to "Freeway of Love," and becoming one of the most beloved singers of the twentieth century. 

Aretha : from these roots by Aretha Franklin

America's Queen of Soul recounts the story of her life, from her childhood as a minister's daughter in Detroit to her rise to success, offering insights into the faith and determination that have taken her to the top.

Higher Ground seamlessly weaves the specific and intensely personal narratives of Stevie, Aretha, and Curtis’s lives into the historical fabric of their times. The three shared many similarities: They were all children of the great migration and of the black church. But the gospel impulse manifested itself in different ways within the dramas of their individual lives and musical creations. In Stevie Wonder’s case, it was a literally color-blind universal sense of spirituality that expressed itself in his life and music as an urge toward transcendence, particularly in the mid-seventies when albums like Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life radically revised what a pop album could be. For Aretha Franklin, the traditional gospel vision of a beloved community anchored in the strength of women comforted her through a life littered with tragedy and found expression in propulsive pop songs like "Respect" as well as in her legendary gospel albums. And for Curtis Mayfield, the gospel notion of conscious living inspired him to create songs that served the purposes of the Civil Rights movement and the radical Black Power movement alike, from the gritty street drama of Superfly to the transcendent call of "People Get Ready." Werner doesn't just provide a narrative of three fascinating lives; he ties them together with a provocative thesis about American history and culture that compels us to reconsider both the music and the times. And aside from the personalities and the history, he writes beautifully about music itself, the nuts and bolts of its creation and performance, in a way that brings a new awareness and understanding to the most familiar music, forcing readers to listen to songs they've heard a thousand times with fresh ears. InHigher Ground, Werner illuminates the lives of three unparalleled American artists, reminding us why their music mattered then and still resonates with us today. 

The album that earned soul legend Aretha Franklin her fist major hits, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You was a pop and soul music milestone. Apart from its status as a hit record, the album also had a much wider cultural impact. By early 1967, when the album was released, the Civil Rights movement was already well underway and Aretha's new music gave it its theme song. The single Respect also became a passionate call to arms for the burgeoning feminist movement...Matt Dobkin has unearthed a wonderful story of the creation of an album that goes far beyond anything that's been written about The Queen of Soul or her music before. I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You is the story of a great achievement and includes scores of fresh interviews, including renowned producer Jerry Wexler and the session musicians from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, as well as Aretha's own musicians. It's also a biography of a star more complex and determined than her modern image as a diva indicates. Aretha, a teenage mother and daughter of a commanding preacher father, both rose above her circumstances and transformed them into art.

The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz. 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. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots, that fame and fortune finally came via "Respect" and a rapidfire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions.

Again and again, Aretha stubbornly finds a way to triumph over troubles, even as they continue to build. Her hold on the crown is tenacious, and in RESPECT, David Ritz gives us the definitive life of one of the greatest talents in all American culture. 

I never loved a man (the way I love you) -- Respect --Do right woman, do right man -- Dr Feelgood -- Save me -- Baby I love you -- (You make me feel like) a natural woman -- Chain of fools -- Since you've been gone -- Ain't no way -- Think -- I say a little prayer -- The house that Jack built -- See saw -- The weight -- Share your love with me -- Eleanor Rigby --Call me -- Spirit in the dark -- Don't play that song -- You're all I need to get by -- Bridge over troubled water -- Spanish Harlem --Rock steady --Oh me oh my (I'm a fool for you baby) -- Day dreaming --Wholly holy -- Angel -- Until you come back to me -- I'm in love

Disc 1. Organ introduction (on our way) -- Opening remarks -- On our way -- Aretha's introduction -- Wholy holy -- You'll never walk alone -- What a friend we have in Jesus -- Precious memories -- How I got over -- Precious Lord, take my hand/How I got over -- Climbing the higher mountain -- Amazin grace -- My sweet Lord (instrumental) -- Give yourself to Jesus -- Disc 2. Organ introduction (on our way)/Opening remarks -- On our way -- Aretha's introduction -- What a friend we have in Jesus -- Wholy holy -- Climbing higher mountains -- God will take care of you -- Old landmark -- Mary, don't you weep -- Never grow old -- Remarks by Reverend C.L. Franklin -- Precious memories -- My sweet Lord (instrumental)

Motown: The Sound of Young America is the definitive, authorised visual history of the Detroit-based independent record company which became a style unto itself, a prolific and hugely successful production line of suave, sassy and sophisticated music through the sixties, seventies and eighties. Featuring extensive, specially commissioned photography of treasures gathered from the archives, this landmark publication also captures the graphic and design iconography which underpinned Motown's extraordinary creativity. Packed with fresh insights gleaned from scores of interviews with key players, this exceptional, revealing book delves into the workings of the Motown machine and details how a dedicated team of backroom believers, white and black, turned a small family business into a popular music powerhouse. This was the home of Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, the Temptations and many more. Motown: The Sound of Young America is a spectacular labour of love befitting an incredible story.

"As David Maraniss captures it with power and affection, Detroit summed up America's path to music and prosperity that was already past history. It's 1963 and Detroit is on top of the world. The city's leaders are among the most visionary in America: Grandson of the first Ford; Henry Ford II; influential labor leader Walter Reuther; Motown's founder Berry Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter, the amazing Aretha; Governor George Romney, Mormon and Civil Rights advocate; super car salesman Lee Iacocca; Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, a Kennedy acolyte; Police Commissioner George Edwards; Martin Luther King. It was the American auto makers' best year; the revolution in music and politics was underway. Reuther's UAW had helped lift the middle class. The time was full of promise..."

After Jake Blues is release from prison, he and brother Elwood go to visit the old home where they were raised by nuns. They learn the church is no longer supporting the institution and will sell the place to the education authority. The only way to keep the place open is if the $5000 tax on the property is paid within the next 11 days. The brothers want to help and decide to put their blues band back together and raise the the money by staging a big show. As they set off on their "mission from god" they seem to make more enemies than friends along the way.

It's all here, the sounds, the sensations and the stars! From Hitsville, U.S.A., this Emmy-winning, legendary show is hosted by Richard Pryor. It₂s a fast-paced, all-star reunion that spotlights performances by the biggest acts ever to come out of Detroit, including vintage footage of the groups from the sixties and seventies, a look behind the scenes at the songwriters who brought the Motown sound to fame, and a moving tribute to the man who started it all, Barry Gordy. .

She caught the Katy -- Peter Gunn theme -- Gimme some lovin' -- Shake a tail feather -- Everybody needs somebody to love -- The old landmark -- Think -- Theme from Rawhide -- Minnie the moocher -- Sweet home Chicago -- Jailhouse rock