There are a lot of technically proficient singers out there. And then there was, Aretha.
There are a lot of singers out there that I love to listen to...but none really comes close to the soulful perfection of Aretha.
I have been a fan since my Detroit-born dad introduced me to "his" music, when I was about 5. Most of my family listened to country music, which, at the time, I hated. I have since gained a much better appreciation for the twang of country, and it's close relative, bluegrass. Oh, and Cajun Zydeco. Delicious as the food in the swamps of Louisiana.
I have been in love with soul, R and B and Motown since Ray Charles came blasting through that monster-Pioneer stereo, rolling in on his piano and tellin' me What He Said. That remains one of my all-time favorite songs. I still dance every time I hear it. You just don't mess with Ray.
In the Motown milieu, I was pretty bored by Diana Ross and the Supremes, to be honest, but the Four Tops? Lord help me, I love the Tops. Yeah, and the Temptations...though I give the Tops the edge.
Almost no one agrees with me on this, and that's OK. We love who we love. And my love for Levi Stubb's howling, soaring desperation on this monster, is not to be discounted.
Marvin. Oh Marvin Gaye. Now there is a dead sexy voice wrapped up in a dead sexy package. I was a little older when I began to appreciate Marvin.
Strangely, I cannot stand his, or anyone else's version of I Heard it Through the Grapevine, once I heard Gladys Knight take that song by the neck, and OWN it.
My dad introduced me to some great music...none greater than this one.
No one, and I do mean no one, can touch her glorious vocals. I love Aretha Franklin, her music, and am gutted that I could never come close to being a singer of that caliber. But I am certainly not alone. Neither can anyone else.
Let me leave you with this...at 73 years old she whipped out Nessun Dorma like she was just dusting it off from her closet of fabulous. Dang.
RIP, lady. RIP. And thanks, dad. You did me a solid. -LaDona