Thursday, March 13, 2008

OST Artist Spotlight: Aretha Franklin

Aries...The first sign of the zodiac. Natural leaders.

Hey Everybody...It's time for the Aries Artist Spotlight!!!! Thanks for the birthday wishes (wink @AS)'s only 2 weeks from today!!!! I love yall...all of yall...(and yall too. I wish u the best)

This weeks Aries artist is Aretha Franklin. The Queen!

I don't know about yall...but I am so tired of these gossip sites talking about Aretha and disrepecting her...especially when one of the loudest malcontents looks like a bulldog! For real...I'm sick of it. Like you haven't worn the same outfit twice because you thought you looked good in it! Like you haven't paid attention to society and did whatever you felt you wanted to do or worn what you wanted to wear...or even said what you wanted to say!!!

This woman is an icon and m-fers need to respect her as such.

That said...I'm such a stan for Re-Re. I can listen to her songs from the 60's and 70's and they apply to my heart in the present time. When Aretha sings gospel, I want to rededicate myself to Christ! When she sings about broken hearts, I am reminded of how it USED to feel. I'm a stan.

So here's the mix and the Biography is below the break. Enjoy one of our beautiful queens and remember that Aries Divas will tell you just how it is and how it should be. I am no exception to that rule!

Listen Here:

Download Here

Track Listing

I Say A Little Prayer
Baby I Love You
Spanish Harlem
Rock Steady
Jump To It
Freeway of Love
Who's Zoomin' Who
The House That Jack Built
Since You Been Gone
Chain of Fools
Rose Is Still A Rose (with Lauren Hill)
Oh Me Oh My
I Never Loved A Man
A Natural Woman
Giving Him Something He Can Feel
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Precious Lord, Take My Hand
Oh Happy Day (with Mavis Staples)
Hurts Like Hell (Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack)

Biography and more Pictures after the break!


Early life and career
Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee to the Rev. C. L. Franklin, a Baptist minister, and Barbara Siggers Franklin. Aretha's parents had a troubled relationship and they separated when Aretha was six. Siggers died of a heart attack when Franklin was ten. The fourth of five siblings, Aretha's father's first pulpit after Memphis was in Buffalo, New York. The family subsequently moved to Detroit, Michigan where Rev. Franklin assumed the pulpit of the New Bethel Baptist Church, and gained national fame as a preacher. Adept at the piano as well as having a gifted voice, Franklin became a child prodigy. By the age of fourteen, she signed a record deal with Checker Records, where her father recorded his sermons and gospel vocal recordings and issued The Gospel Soul of Aretha Franklin in 1956. Her earlier influences included Clara Ward and Mahalia Jackson, both of whom spent a lot of time in Aretha's home.
Teenage pregnancies derailed Franklin's gospel career when she gave birth to the first and second of her four sons in 1955 and 1957. By the time she returned to singing, instead of performing gospel and inspired by the successes of idols Dinah Washington and Sam Cooke, Aretha decided to secure herself a deal as a pop artist. After being offered contracts from Motown and RCA, Franklin signed with Columbia Records in 1960. Her recordings during that time reflected a jazz influence inspired by Washington and moved away from her gospel roots. Franklin initially scored a few hits on Columbia including her version of "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby (With A Dixie Melody)", which peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in 1961, and the Top 10 R&B hits, "Today I Sing The Blues", "Won't Be Long" and "Operation Heartbreak". However, by the end of 1966, with little commercial success in six years with Columbia and desperate for a sound, she accepted an offer to sign with Atlantic Records. According to Franklin years later, "they made me sit down on the piano and the hits came."
"Queen of Soul"
In 1967 Franklin issued her first Atlantic single, "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)", a blues ballad that introduced listeners to her gospel style. Produced by Jerry Wexler, the song became Franklin's breakthrough single reaching the Top 10 on the Hot 100, and holding the #1 spot for 7 weeks on Billboard's R&B Singles chart. The B-side to the single, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", charted on the R&B side, and introduced a more gospel element to Franklin's developing sound.
Her next single, "Respect", firmly launched Franklin to superstardom. Written and originally recorded by Otis Redding, Franklin's feminist version of the song became a hit reaching #1 on both the R&B and the Pop charts and helping her Atlantic debut album, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You, reach million-seller status. In the next ten months, Franklin released a number of top ten hits including "Baby I Love You", "Chain Of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".
In early 1968 Franklin won her first two Grammies (for "Respect"), including the first Grammy awarded in the "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" category. Franklin went on to win eight "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" awards in a row. Over the next seven years, Franklin continued to score hit singles including "Think", "The House That Jack Built", "I Say A Little Prayer" (a cover of Dionne Warwick's hit), "Call Me", "Don't Play That Song" and "Spanish Harlem".
By the end of the 1960s, Franklin's position as The Queen of Soul was firmly established. Her albums were also hot sellers; one in particular, 1972's Amazing Grace, eventually sold over two million US copies, becoming "the best-selling gospel album of all time". Franklin's hit streak continued into the mid-1970s. 1973's emotional plea "Angel", produced by Quincy Jones and written by Franklin's sister Carolyn, was a stand out single that became yet another #1 on the R&B chart. The subsequent album Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), however, was not successful.
1974's Gold-certified single "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" hit #1 R&B and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. By 1975, however, with the expanding exposure of Disco and the popularity of fellow Atlantic artist Roberta Flack, relations between Franklin and Atlantic Records were starting to strain. As a result, Aretha was recording poor material such as 1975's listless You album, and her record sales declined dramatically. Franklin had peaked while the music industry was moving on to younger black female singers such as Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, and Donna Summer.

Decline and tragedy
In 1976, Franklin's Curtis Mayfield-produced soundtrack of the film, Sparkle, briefly brought Franklin out of her funk. It was her first album to reach Gold status since the landmark Amazing Grace. The suggestive "(Giving Him) Something He Can Feel" became a number-one R&B smash and reached #28 on the Pop side. However, it was Aretha's only Pop Top 40 appearance during the second half of the 1970s. Her later period Atlantic albums including Sweet Passion, Almighty Fire and La Diva were critical as well as sales failures and to top it off Franklin owed major debts to the IRS for failure to pay back taxes. Her recording contract with Atlantic ran out at the end of 1979 and neither Aretha nor the company had any desire to renew it. On June 10, 1979, Franklin's minister father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was seriously wounded during what was said to be an attempted robbery at his Linwood Avenue home in Detroit, leaving him in a comatose state in which he remained until he died in the summer of 1984.

Return to prominence
In 1980, Franklin's career was given a much-needed boost thanks to a cameo appearance on The Blues Brothers, singing Think as Mrs. Matt Murphy. That same year, Clive Davis signed Aretha to his Arista Records. The singles "United Together" and "Love All The Hurt Away" - a duet with George Benson - returned her to the Top 10 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. But it was the spectacular 1982 album, Jump To It, produced by longtime admirer Luther Vandross, and the title-track 45 that gave Aretha her first R&B chart-topping and pop success since "(Giving Him) Something He Can Feel". The Jump To It album enjoyed a long run at #1 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart (even the Zoomin' album only reached #3). It won an American Music Award, was nominated for a Grammy and was certified Gold in early 1983 - Aretha's first Gold disc since the 1976 Sparkle album.
The following year Franklin and Vandross collaborated again on the disappointing Get It Right. But in 1985, Franklin's sound was commercialized into a glossy pop sound as she experienced her first-ever Platinum-certified album, Who's Zoomin' Who?. Yielding smash hits like the Motown-influenced "Freeway of Love", the title track, and her duet with rock duo Eurythmics, "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves", the album became the first Platinum certification of Aretha's entire career, reintroducing her sound to a younger generation of fans. In 1986, Franklin did nearly as well with an album simply titled Aretha which yielded her first number-one pop single in two decades with the George Michael duet, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". The album is noteworthy for the striking cover which was Andy Warhol's last work before his death. Other hits included her cover of The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and the girl group-inspired "Jimmy Lee". When Aretha was taken out of print, it had sold over nine million copies worldwide.
Aretha returned to gospel in 1987 with her album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism which was recorded live at her New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. However, the disc was a far cry from her 1972 effort Amazing Grace and had middling sales. Subsequent follow-ups such as 1989's Through The Storm and 1991's What You See Is What You Sweat sold poorly and failed to produce any major mainstream hits - other than the former album's Elton John-featured title track - but her career got a slight boost in 1993 when she scored a dance-club hit with "Deeper Love" off the Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit soundtrack. In 1994, she scored a top forty hit with the Babyface-produced ballad, "Willing To Forgive".
Franklin returned to prominence with her 1998 album, A Rose Is Still A Rose. The album's mixture of urban contemporary, hip-hop soul and soul was a departure from Franklin's previous material. The title track, produced by Lauryn Hill, gave her a smash hit on the R&B and Pop charts and earned a gold single while the album was certified gold also, the first time since 1986's Aretha that any of the singer's albums went gold. That same year, with less than twenty-four hours to prepare, Franklin stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti to sing "Nessun Dorma" at the 1998 Grammy Awards. (Pavarotti, who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award that night, was too sick to attend.) She gave a soulful and highly improvised performance in the aria's original key, while firmly stamping out the year with a captivating performance during VH-1's "Divas Live" telecast.
Recent years
Following the success of A Rose Is Still A Rose, Franklin has continued recording if only sporadically. Her most recent release was 2003's So Damn Happy, which included the Grammy-winning track "Wonderful". Shortly after its release, Franklin left Arista Records after twenty-three years with the company. She has since started her own label, Aretha Records, and plans to issue her long-promised new album, A Woman Falling Out Of Love in 2008. She is also coaching young actors during auditions for a musical based on her autobiography, From These Roots.
In 1998, Franklin also took again her role of Mrs. Murphy in Blues Brothers 2000, this time singing her old hit "Respect". Like in the 1980 movie, she plays the possessive wife of the lead guitarist of the Blues Brothers Band, singing the song during a row with her husband about his joining his former band.
Aretha has released a new album "Jewels In The Crown: All-Star Duets With The Queen" The disc features duets performed with Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Richard Marx, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Mary J. Blige, Frank Sinatra, George Michael, Christina Aguilera, George Benson, Fantasia, Gloria Estefan, and Mariah Carey. A duet with Faith Hill has been recorded but it's not on the album. The album includes two new recordings with Fantasia, on the lead single "Put You Up On Game" and John Legend. The lead single "Put You Up On Game" hit radio on October 1, 2007 and became the number one most added song on Urban AC radio the following week. The album also includes Aretha's historical rendition of "Nessun Dorma" from the 1998 Grammy telecast. The album was released November 13, 2007 on Arista Records.
On February 8, 2008, Franklin was honored as MusiCares "Person of the Year", two days prior to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards where she was awarded her 20th Grammy.

Personal life
Twice divorced, Franklin is the mother of four grown sons. Two of her sons, Kecalf and Teddy, are active in the music business. Teddy is the musical director and guitarist of Franklin's touring band. From 1961 to 1969, Aretha was married to her manager and co-writer Ted White. In 1978 she married Cooley High actor Glynn Turman. White had been a decade older than Aretha while Turman was four years younger. The marriage lasted until late 1982 when Franklin and her family returned permanently to Detroit. She and Turman officially divorced in early 1984.
She is the godmother of Whitney Houston, who also grew up to be a pop star, rising to fame in the mid 1980s. A still image of Franklin was shown in the closing scene of Houston's late 1985 video for the single How Will I Know.

Awards and achievements
On January 3, 1987, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In May 1987, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Musicology degree from the University of Detroit.
In September, 1999, she was awarded The National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked her #9 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. To give perspective to this honor, only the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and Little Richard finished ahead of her on this list. Ray Charles finished at number ten, right behind Franklin.
In 2005, she was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
In 2005, she became the second woman (Madonna being the first, a founding member) to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
On May 13, 2006, she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree by the Berklee College of Music.
On May 14, 2007, she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
She is the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor.
First black woman to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
On February 8, 2008, Franklin was honored as MusiCares "Person of the Year".
On February 14, 2008, Franklin was given the Vanguard award at the NAACP Image awards.
In 2008, Franklin was added to PETA’s ‘Worst-Dressed Celebrities of 2008’ after appearing at the Grammy awards in a full length fur coat.
Grammy Awards
Franklin has won twenty Grammy Awards in total during her nearly half-century long career (she first charted in 1961), and holds the record for most Best Female R&B Vocal Performance award with eleven to her name (including eight consecutive awards from 1968 to 1975 - the first eight awarded in that category). (bio credit)

And DJ Diva Loves her with all her Heart.

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