Aretha

Word is that Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill.” I’m saddened to hear the news.  There’s no disputing the argument that she is the greatest female singer of the 20th century.  Perhaps aside from Ella Fitzgerald, there is none more significant.

I’m sure an avalanche of thoughtful and loving pieces commemorating her life and legacy are on their way. I’m spending my work day with her music. If you’re in a listening mood, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)–her first with Atlantic records–is one of the best albums ever. Here are my other favorites of her albums and collections:

Lady Soul (1968)
Aretha Now (1968)
Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
Soul ’69 (1969)
The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin (1962)

Aretha is a much more powerful single track artist than an album one, so compilations of her work are often the surest way to go. Here are my favorites:

The Very Best of Aretha, Vol. 1: the 60s (1994)
Aretha Sings the Blues (1985)
Queen of Sou: The Atlantic Recordings (1994)

And here’s a killer live performance that always stands out in my memory: