Aretha Franklin- Gospel Significance and Evolution- Gospel Post

From the submissive surrender of her “Amazing Grace” to the womanly exclamations of “Respect” and other provocative hits, the late “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is widely remembered for her significance in the gospel music genre and the gospel music foundations she learned at her father’s Baptist church, New Bethel Baptist Church (non-SBC), the Detroit congregation where Franklin grew up singing in the choir and performing solos.

“[She] was a child of the church. She had that authentic deep gospel sound that was rooted in her from the church,.. She sang in the church choir up to the age of 9 and from the age of 9 to 18 she recorded gospel music. Then at around 18 she began to record secular music, but never forgetting her gospel roots.”

Southern Baptist pastor Marshal Ausberry

Amazing Grace (1972)

This historic live set took place in January of 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. The recording became Aretha Franklin’s biggest-selling album and the top-grossing gospel record of all time. Writer Jon Landau wrote, “Aretha sings like never before on record.” This album truly is a religious experience. She didn’t show up in church that day looking for Jesus — she brought him with her.” 

On this album, Franklin mixes spiritual songs with the contemporary, although, if you didn’t know them in their original form, you’d think church choirs had been performing them for centuries. She converted songs like Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend’ and the Rodgers & Hammerstein song (and Liverpool Football Club anthem), ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ into gospel songs.

"Queen of SOUL"

Since Franklin first learned to sing in church, that influence could always be heard in her songs, although she was never constrained by it.

She blended gospel with jazz, blues and R&B. She took on the world of rock ‘n’ roll and sung about a wide range of topics including womens rights and no-good-men. It was this ability to embody the spectrum of African-American musical traditions that earned her the title, Queen of Soul.

"RESPECT"- Aretha Franklin (1967)

Aretha Franklin’s signature anthem is a commanding cover of Otis Redding’s 1965 rave-up that captured the spirit of the country on multiple levels – particularly the civil rights movement,It also resonated with the feminist movement, yet Franklin remained matter-of-fact about the song’s driving theme: “I don’t think it’s bold at all,” she told the Detroit Free Press as recently as this year. “I think it’s quite natural that we all want respect – and should get it.”

The Soul Queen “took you to church even if she was singing about a no-good man,” fellow singer Candi Staton recalled in an interview with RNS.

Candi Staton

Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings Track Listing

Side One
1.    Organ Introduction (“On Our Way”) – Ken Lupper
2.    Opening Remarks – Rev. James Cleveland
3.    “On Our Way” – Southern California Community Choir
4.    Aretha’s Introduction – Rev. James Cleveland
5.    “Wholy Holy”
6.    “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

Side Two
1.    “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”
2.    “Precious Memories” – With Rev. James Cleveland
3.    “How I Got Over”

Side Three
1.    “Precious Lord, Take My Hand / You’ve Got A Friend”
2.    “Climbing Higher Mountains”
3.    “Give Yourself To Jesus”

Side Four
1.    “Amazing Grace”
2.    “My Sweet Lord” – Instrumental

Side Five
1.    Organ Introduction (“On Our Way”) and Opening Remarks – Ken Lupper & Rev. James Cleveland
2.    “On Our Way” – Southern California Community Choir
3.    Aretha’s Introduction – Rev. James Cleveland
4.    “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”
5.    “Wholy Holy”

Side Six
1.    “Climbing Higher Mountains”
2.    “God Will Take Care Of You”
3.    “Old Landmark”

Side Seven
1.    “Mary, Don’t You Weep”
2.    “Never Grow Old”

Side Eight
1.    Remarks By Reverend C.L. Franklin
2.    “Precious Memories” – With Rev. James Cleveland
3.    “My Sweet Lord” – Instrumental

Conclusion

Universally known and remembered as the Queen of Soul.

Aretha Franklin shaped music from a very young age and went on to accomplish more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts, including 17 songs that were top 10 pop singles and 20 that were No. 1 R&B hits. She won 18 Grammy Awards along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She sold more than 75 million records worldwide,

Aretha Franklin was universally known as the Queen of Soul.

She had more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts, including 17 songs that were top 10 pop singles and 20 that were No. 1 R&B hits. She won 18 Grammy Awards along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She sold more than 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling musical artists of all time.

 

She was laid to rest in 2018.

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