posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blue2jazzguy
Congratulations!! Aretha Franklin receives an honorary degree from Harvard University May 29 2014. There are Divas and there are DIVAS, Aretha Franklin isn’t just the Queen of Soul, she’s THE Voice of All Ages. Gospel, Soul, Pop, and dare I say it, Opera?? Yes, Opera as the late Italian tenor Pavarotti once requested Aretha’s presence to stand in for him at a TV show singing two Arias. Ms Franklin shocking most people, as she easily handled the difficult music with grace and panache’. I first heard Aretha as a teenager on a TV show ,Steve Allen Show in 1964. a moving jazzy-blues song entitled, It Wont Be Long.
In those days She was on the Columbia records label , and they thought they could market her as a jazz singer ,since she played piano they would just add some drums and bass and market her like a “Female Ray Charles” , needless to say, it did not work. Aretha was the Caged Bird, and she needed to be free, to soar and sing ..Not until she took a little trip down south to Memphis, tasted a little home-cookin’ from the musicians down there including meeting Jerry Wexler as producer on a project that changed her whole life forever! The rest is as they say, history!