Miss Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin had been at the piano, in church, on the road, all her life. When a child star comes of age, beware. Maybe she had a somewhat perverse streak, an imperviousness to advice. She will wear a sleeveless gown at her age if she wants to; she won’t agree to the release of the film of her recording Amazing Grace. She shall not retire. To sing was to have power, so why stop? In five decades, she released more than forty albums, and just as many compilations and greatest-hits collections, and I am forgetting how many live recordings. She left no ballad standing and wrestled even the tenderest lyrics to the floor. And when she was fast, I don’t know what to say about that, except that she stayed in control so that we could lose it.

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