So today we lost another music great. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. I was first introduced to her music through The Blues Brothers film: I’d been a punk and a goth before I saw that and had my ears, eyes and heart opened to the world of soul and blues by the film (which I still rate as the best movie, ever).
One of my few regrets is that I never got to see Aretha live in concert. She’s one of the few artists I can think of that I would have loved to watch and hear. She had such a wonderful, effortless, yet powerful voice, and conveyed such incredible emotion with it. Watching her sing Natural Woman in 2015, when she moved Barack Obama to tears, was just one of countless occasions when she turned words on a page into poetry, into being, “just” by singing them.
I doubt we’ll ever hear her likes again. Songs aren’t written like those she sang any more. Her range, her ability, and (as I read today) her piano playing are skills that modern singers just don’t seem to have.
She deserves our respect, for all she achieved, not just in the world of music but also in the civil rights struggle, and as a role model for women everywhere.
It’s an often used term, but totally appropriate in this case. Aretha, you are a legend and will be sorely missed.