Today right after my show, I heard about the death of Aretha Franklin. Based on the number of Social Media posts I’m seeing, this is an artist that touched a ton of people with her music. Interestingly, it was also 41 years ago on this date that another musical icon, the great Elvis Presley, passed away.
Much of Aretha’s best music (her heyday for sure) was released before I was born…if not that, at least before I was paying attention to music as a child. As I look back at her extensive music catalog and try to make a Top 5 list, it’s the biggest, most recognizable hits that sing out to me. Certainly for some artists of my era, I’d be able to do a more creative list that would feature album cuts, etc. But for Aretha, my list (with maybe one exception) will look a lot like the Billboard Chart, counting down her biggest hits. Here goes:
#5 (maybe the surprise pick): “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” – This cut played second fiddle to the more familiar 80’s hit (and probably superior song) “Freeway of Love,” but for me WZW had a cool vibe that I enjoyed a tad more.
#4: “Chain of Fools” – One of those instantly recognizable 60’s grooves.
#3: “Think” – See note for #4…this one more upbeat.
#2: “Respect” – ditto. Probably Aretha’s singature song, one which people will still be dancing to 50 years from now. Still a “Power Cut” for dj’s and a staple of dance floors worldwide.
#1: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. I’m a sucker for a heartfelt ballad, so it’s my Number One.
As the Righteous Brothers sang: “….if there’s a Rock & Roll Heaven, well you know they’ve got a hell of a band.” Well, the band just got a lot better.
Feel free to discuss and share your picks with me: firstname.lastname@example.org