sábado, 1 de octubre de 2011

Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot /ɡɑrˈdoʊ/ (born February 2, 1985) is a Grammy-nominated American singer, writer and musician in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, though she considers herself a "citizen of the world". She has been influenced by such blues and jazz artists as Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz and George Gershwin as well as Latin music artists such as Caetano Veloso. Her music has been compared to that of Nina Simone.
Gardot follows the teachings of Buddhism, is a macrobiotic cook and humanitarian who often speaks about the benefits of music therapy. She has visited various universities and hospitals to speak about its ability to help reconnect neural pathways in the brain, improve speech ability, and lift general spirits. In a recent interview she was rumored[citation needed] to be working closely in a university in the United States to help develop a program for music therapy and the management of pain, something she has spoken about establishing in the future on her own.
Gardot started music lessons at the age of nine and began playing piano in Philadelphia bars at the age of sixteen on Fridays and Saturdays for four hours a night. She insisted on only playing music she liked, ranging from standards from The Mamas & the Papas to Duke Ellington and modern groups such as Radiohead.

During her time in hospital she learned how to play the guitar and began writing songs, which were made available as downloads in iTunes and released in Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions in 2005. She began to play these songs at venues in Philadelphia and was spotted by the radio station WXPN, operated by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which helped to launch Norah Jones. As well as playing her songs, WXPN encouraged her to assemble a demo, which was quickly picked up by Universal Records.
Released in 2006 and then re-released by Verve Records in 2008, her first full-length album was entitled Worrisome Heart. After meeting her in New York City in 2008, producer Larry Klein began working with Gardot and they released her second album, My One and Only Thrill, on April 28, 2009. From this album, the song "Who Will Comfort Me?" became a top 10 hit at Smooth Jazz radio. Also in 2009, Gardot released a live EP, Live from SoHo. Gardot is a recipient of the 2007 VSA International Young Soloists Award.

Melody Gardot ['mɛlədiː gaɹ'doʊ] Nueva Jersey, Estados Unidos, 2 de febrero de 1985) es una cantante y compositora de jazz americana.
A los 19 años fue atropellada por un automóvil cuando paseaba en bicicleta. Este suceso, a pesar de trágico, la llevó a ser una notable artista. El inicio de su carrera artística fue motivado por su médico, que estaba preocupado por las secuelas del traumatismo craneal sufrido en el accidente. Siguiendo esta recomendación, Melody Gardot compuso y grabó algunas canciones cuando aún estaba en cama, incapaz de caminar. Como resultado lanzó el EP some lessons- the Bedroom Sessions. Su primer álbum, una continuación del EP, llevó por nombre Worrisome Heart.

Visita España por primera vez en 2009 para presentar su segundo disco, 'My one and only thrill' donde jazz, blues y ritmos latinos forman parte de la propuesta musical de esta nueva artista del panorama musical.

viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2011

Janis Joplin

Janis Lyn Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. At the height of her career she was known as The Queen of Rock and Roll as well as The Queen of Psychedelic Soul. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Joplin number 46 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004, and number 28 on its 2008 list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on January 19, 1943 to Dorothy (née East) Joplin (1913–1998), a registrar at a business college, and her husband, Seth Joplin (1910–1987), an engineer at Texaco. She had two younger siblings, Michael and Laura. The family attended the Church of Christ. The Joplins felt that Janis always needed more attention than their other children, with her mother stating, "She was unhappy and unsatisfied without . The normal rapport wasn't adequate.
As a teenager, she befriended a group of outcasts, one of whom had albums by African-American blues artists Bessie Smith and Leadbelly, whom Joplin later credited with influencing her decision to become a singer. She began singing in the local choir and expanded her listening to blues singers such as Odetta and Big Mama Thornton.
Primarily a painter while still in school, she first began singing blues and folk music with friends. While at Thomas Jefferson High School, she stated that she was mostly shunned. Joplin was quoted as saying, "I was a misfit. I read, I painted, I didn't hate niggers." As a teen, she became overweight and her skin broke out so badly she was left with deep scars which required dermabrasion. Other kids at high school would routinely taunt her and call her names like "pig," "freak" or "creep." Among her classmates were G. W. Bailey and Jimmy Johnson.

Joplin graduated from high school in 1960 and attended Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas, during the summer and later the University of Texas at Austin, though she did not complete her studies. The campus newspaper The Daily Texan ran a profile of her in the issue dated July 27, 1962 headlined "She Dares To Be Different." The article began, "She goes barefooted when she feels like it, wears Levi's to class because they're more comfortable, and carries her Autoharp with her everywhere she goes so that in case she gets the urge to break into song it will be handy. Her name is Janis Joplin."
Cultivating a rebellious manner, Joplin styled herself in part after her female blues heroines and, in part, after the Beat poets. Her first song recorded on tape, at the home of a fellow student in December 1962, was "What Good Can Drinkin' Do". She left Texas for San Francisco ("just to get away from Texas," she said, "because my head was in a much different place") in January 1963, living in North Beach and later Haight-Ashbury. In 1964, Joplin and future Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen recorded a number of blues standards, further accompanied by Margareta Kaukonen on typewriter (as percussion instrument). This session included seven tracks: "Typewriter Talk," "Trouble In Mind," "Kansas City Blues," "Hesitation Blues", "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out", "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" and "Long Black Train Blues," and was later released as the bootleg album The Typewriter Tape.
Around this time her drug use increased, and she acquired a reputation as a "speed freak" and occasional heroin user. She also used other psychoactive drugs and was a heavy drinker throughout her career; her favorite beverage was Southern Comfort.
In the spring of 1965, Joplin's friends, noticing the physical effects of her amphetamine habit (she was described as "skeletal" and "emaciated"), persuaded her to return to Port Arthur, Texas. In May 1965, Joplin's friends threw her a bus-fare party so she could return home. Back in Port Arthur, she changed her lifestyle. She avoided drugs and alcohol, began wearing relatively modest dresses, adopted a beehive hairdo, and enrolled as a sociology major at Lamar University in nearby Beaumont, Texas. During her year at Lamar University, she commuted to Austin to perform solo, accompanying herself on guitar. One of her performances was reviewed in the Austin American-Statesman. Joplin became engaged to a man who visited her, wearing a blue serge suit, to ask her father for her hand in marriage, but the man terminated plans for the marriage soon afterwards.
Just prior to joining Big Brother and the Holding Company, Joplin recorded seven studio tracks in the year 1965. Among the songs she recorded was her original composition for her song Turtle Blues and an alternate version of Cod'ine by Buffy Sainte-Marie. These tracks were later issued as a new album in 1995, titled This Is Janis Joplin 1965 by James Gurley.
In 1966, Joplin's bluesy vocal style attracted the attention of the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company, a band that had gained some renown among the nascent hippie community in Haight-Ashbury. She was recruited to join the group by Chet Helms, a promoter who had known her in Texas and who at the time was managing Big Brother. Helms brought her back to San Francisco and Joplin joined Big Brother on June 4, 1966. Her first public performance with them was at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. In June she was photographed at an outdoor concert that celebrated the summer solstice.

The image, which was later published in two books by David Dalton, shows her before she relapsed into drugs. Due to persistent persuading by keyboardist and close friend Stephen Ryder, Joplin avoided drug use for several weeks, enjoining bandmate Dave Getz to promise that using needles would not be allowed in their rehearsal space or in her apartment or in the homes of her bandmates whom she visited.[8] When a visitor injected drugs in front of Joplin and Getz, Joplin angrily reminded Getz that he had broken his promise. A San Francisco concert from that summer was recorded and released in the 1984 album Cheaper Thrills. In July all five bandmates and guitarist James Gurley's wife Nancy moved to a house in Lagunitas, California where they lived communally. They often partied with the Grateful Dead, who lived less than two miles away.
On August 23, 1966, during a four week engagement in Chicago, the group signed a deal with independent label Mainstream Records. Joplin relapsed into drinking when she and her bandmates (except for Peter Albin) joined some "alcoholic hipsters," as Joplin biographer Ellis Amburn described them, in Chicago. The band recorded tracks in a Chicago recording studio, but the label owner Bob Shad refused to pay their airfare back to San Francisco. Shortly after four of the five musicians drove from Chicago to Northern California with very little money (Albin traveled by plane), they returned to Lagunitas. It was there that Joplin relapsed into intravenous drug use with the encouragement of James' wife Nancy Gurley. Three years later Joplin, by then using a different band, was informed of Nancy's death from an overdose.
One of Joplin's earliest major performances in 1967 was the Mantra-Rock Dance, a musical event held on January 29 at the Avalon Ballroom by the San Francisco Hare Krishna temple. Janis Joplin and Big Brother performed there along with the Hare Krishna founder Bhaktivedanta Swami, Allen Ginsberg, Moby Grape, and Grateful Dead, donating proceeds to the Krishna temple.
In early 1967, Joplin met Country Joe McDonald of the group Country Joe and the Fish. The pair lived together as a couple for a few months. Joplin and Big Brother began playing clubs in San Francisco, at the Fillmore West, Winterland and the Avalon Ballroom. They also played at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as well as in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, the Psychedelic Supermarket in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Golden Bear Club in Huntington Beach, California.
The band's debut album was released by Columbia Records in August 1967, shortly after the group's breakthrough appearance in June at the Monterey Pop Festival. Two songs from Big Brother's set at Monterey were filmed. "Combination of the Two" and a version of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" appear in the DVD box set of D.A. Pennebaker's documentary Monterey Pop released by The Criterion Collection. The film captured Cass Elliot, singer in The Mamas and the Papas, seated in the audience silently mouthing "Wow! That's really heavy!" during Joplin's performance of "Ball and Chain". Only "Ball and Chain" was included in the film that was released to theaters nationwide in 1969 and shown on television in the 1970s. Those who did not attend Monterey Pop saw the band's performance of "Combination of the Two" for the first time in 2002 when The Criterion Collection released the box set.

After switching managers from Chet Helms to Julius Karpen in 1966, the group signed with top artist manager Albert Grossman, whom they met for the first time at Monterey Pop. For the remainder of 1967, Big Brother performed mainly in California. On February 16, 1968, the group began its first East Coast tour in Philadelphia, and the following day gave their first performance in New York City at the Anderson Theater. On April 7, 1968, the last day of their East Coast tour, Joplin and Big Brother performed with Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield, and Elvin Bishop at the "Wake for Martin Luther King, Jr." concert in New York.
Live at Winterland '68, recorded at the Winterland Ballroom on April 12 and 13, 1968, features Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company at the height of their mutual career working through a selection of tracks from their albums. A recording became available to the public for the first time in 1998 when Sony Music Entertainment released the compact disc.
During the spring of 1968, Joplin and Big Brother made their nationwide television debut on The Dick Cavett Show, an ABC daytime variety show hosted by Dick Cavett. Shortly thereafter, network employees wiped the videotape. Over the next two years, she made three appearances on the primetime Cavett program, and all were preserved. By 1968, the band was being billed as "Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company,", and the media coverage given to Joplin incurred resentment among the other members of the band. The other members of Big Brother thought that Joplin was on a "star trip," while others were telling Joplin that Big Brother was a terrible band and that she ought to dump them.
TIME magazine called Joplin "probably the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement," and Richard Goldstein wrote for the May 1968 issue of Vogue magazine that Joplin was "the most staggering leading woman in rock... she slinks like tar, scowls like war... clutching the knees of a final stanza, begging it not to leave... Janis Joplin can sing the chic off any listener.
For her first major studio recording, Janis played a major role in the arrangement and production of the recordings that would become Big Brother And The Holding Company's second album, Cheap Thrills. During the recording, Joplin was said to be the first person to enter the studio and the last person to leave. The album featured a cover design by counterculture cartoonist Robert Crumb. Although Cheap Thrills sounded as if it consisted of concert recordings, only "Ball and Chain" was actually recorded in front of a paying audience; the rest of the tracks were studio recordings. The album had a raw quality, including the sound of a cocktail glass breaking and the broken shards being swept away during the song "Turtle Blues". Together with the premiere of the documentary film Monterey Pop at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on December 26, 1968, the album launched Joplin's successful, albeit short, musical career.
Cheap Thrills reached #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart eight weeks after its release, remaining for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks. The album was certified gold at release and sold over a million copies in the first month of its release. The lead single from the album, "Piece of My Heart" reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the fall of 1968.
The band made another East Coast tour during July–August 1968, performing at the Columbia Records convention in Puerto Rico and the Newport Folk Festival. After returning to San Francisco for two hometown shows at the Palace of Fine Arts Festival on August 31 and September 1, Joplin announced that she would be leaving Big Brother. On September 14, 1968, culminating a three-night final gig together at Fillmore West, fans thronged to honor and exult in the last official night of Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The lead-in groups for this heady night were Chicago  (then still called Chicago Transit Authority) and Santana. Janis gave one last performance with Big Brother at a Family Dog benefit on December 1, 1968.

After splitting from Big Brother And The Holding Company, Joplin formed a new backup group, the Kozmic Blues Band. The band was influenced by the Stax-Volt Rhythm and Blues bands of the 1960s, as exemplified by Otis Redding and the Bar-Kays. The Stax-Volt R&B sound was typified by the use of horns and had a more bluesy, funky, soul, pop-oriented sound than most of the hard-rock psychedelic bands of the period.
By early 1969, Joplin was allegedly shooting at least $200 worth of heroin per day, although efforts were made to keep her clean during the recording of I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!. Gabriel Mekler, who produced the Kozmic Blues, told publicist-turned-biographer Myra Friedman after Joplin's death that the singer had lived in his house during the June 1969 recording sessions at his insistence so he could keep her away from drugs and her drug-using friends.
The Kozmic Blues Band performed on many television shows with Joplin. On one episode of The Dick Cavett Show they performed "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" as well as "To Love Somebody". As Cavett interviewed Joplin, she admitted that she had a terrible time touring in Europe, claiming that audiences there are very uptight and don't get down. She also revealed that she was a big fan of the then unknown Tina Turner, saying that she was an incredible singer, dancer and show woman.
The Kozmic Blues album, released in September 1969, was certified gold later that year but did not match the success of Cheap Thrills. Reviews of the new group were mixed. Some music critics, including Ralph J. Gleason of the San Francisco Chronicle, were negative. Gleason wrote that the new band was a "drag" and that Joplin should "scrap" her new band and "go right back to being a member of Big Brother...(if they'll have her)." Other reviewers, such as reporter Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post generally ignored the band's flaws and devoted entire articles to celebrating the singer's magic. I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! reached #6 on the Billboard 200 weeks after it's release.

Joplin and the Kozmic Blues Band toured North America and Europe throughout 1969, appearing at Woodstock in the early morning hours of Sunday, August 17. Her friend Peggy Caserta claimed in a 1973 book that she encouraged Joplin to perform at the festival. Joplin informed her band that they would be performing at the concert as if it were just another gig. When she and the band flew by helicopter from a nearby motel to the festival site and Joplin saw the enormous crowd she instantly became incredibly nervous and giddy. The documentary film of the festival that was released to theaters the following year includes, on the left side of a split screen (filmmaking), 37 seconds of footage of Joplin and Caserta walking toward her dressing room tent. By most accounts, Woodstock was not a happy affair for Joplin. Faced with a ten hour wait after arriving at the backstage area, she shot heroin with Caserta and was drinking alcohol, so by the time she hit the stage, she was "three sheets to the wind." On stage her voice became slightly hoarse and wheezy and she found it hard to dance. She pulled through, however, and the audience was so pleased they cheered her on for an encore, causing her to perform Ball and Chain twice. Joplin was unhappy with her performance and blamed Caserta. Her singing was not included in the documentary film or the hit soundtrack, although the 25th anniversary director's cut of Woodstock includes her performance of "Work Me, Lord".
In addition to Woodstock, Joplin also had problems four months later at Madison Square Garden where she was joined on stage by special guests Johnny Winter and Paul Butterfield. She told rock journalist David Dalton, the audience watched and listened to "every note [she sang] with 'Is she gonna make it?' in their eyes. In her interview with Dalton she added that she felt most comfortable performing at small, cheap venues in San Francisco that were associated with the counterculture. At the time of this June 1970 interview she already had performed in the Bay Area for what turned out to be the last time.
Sam Andrew, the lead guitarist who had left Big Brother with Joplin in December 1968 to form her back-up band, quit in late summer 1969 and returned to Big Brother without her. At the end of the year, the Kozmic Blues Band broke up. Their final gig with Joplin was at Madison Square Garden in New York City on the night of December 19–20, 1969.
In February 1970, Joplin traveled to Brazil, where she stopped her drug and alcohol use. She was accompanied on vacation there by her friend Linda Gravenites, who had designed the singer's stage costumes from 1967 to 1969. Joplin was romanced by a fellow American tourist named David (George) Niehaus, who was traveling around the world. A Joplin biography written by her sister Laura said, "David was an upper-middle-class Cincinnati kid who had studied communications at Notre Dame. ... [and] had joined the Peace Corps after college and worked in a small village in Turkey. ... He tried law school, but when he met Janis he was taking time off." Niehaus and Joplin were photographed by the press at Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Gravenites also took color photographs of the two during their Brazilian vacation. According to Joplin biographer Ellis Amburn, in Gravenites' snapshots they "look like a carefree, happy, healthy young couple having a tremendously good time." Rolling Stone magazine interviewed Joplin during an international phone call, quoting her, "I'm going into the jungle with a big bear of a beatnik named David Niehaus. I finally remembered I don't have to be on stage twelve months a year. I've decided to go and dig some other jungles for a couple of weeks." Amburn added in 1992, "Janis was trying to kick heroin in Brazil, and one of the nicest things about George was that he wasn't into drugs.
Joplin began using heroin again when she returned to the United States. Her relationship with Niehaus soon ended because of his witnessing her shooting drugs at her new home in Larkspur, California, her romantic relationship with Peggy Caserta, who also was an intravenous addict, and her refusal to take some time off work and travel the world with him. Around this time she formed her new band, the Full Tilt Boogie Band. The band was composed mostly of young Canadian musicians and featured an organ, but no horn section. Joplin took a more active role in putting together the Full Tilt Boogie Band than she did with her prior group. She was quoted as saying, "It's my band. Finally it's my band!"

The Full Tilt Boogie Band began touring in May 1970. Joplin remained quite happy with her new group, which received mostly positive feedback from both her fans and the critics. Prior to beginning a summer tour with Full Tilt Boogie, she performed in a reunion with Big Brother at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on April 4, 1970. Recordings from this concert were included in an in-concert album released posthumously in 1972. She again appeared with Big Brother on April 12 at Winterland where she and Big Brother were reported to be in excellent form. By the time she began touring with Full Tilt Boogie, Joplin told people she was drug-free, but her drinking increased.
From June 28 to July 4, 1970, Joplin and Full Tilt joined the all-star Festival Express tour through Canada, performing alongside the Grateful Dead, Delaney and Bonnie, Rick Danko and The Band, Eric Andersen and Ian and Sylvia. They played concerts in Toronto, Winnipeg and Calgary. Footage of her performance of the song Tell Mama in Calgary became an MTV video in the early 1980s and was included on the 1982 Farewell Song album. The audio of other Festival Express performances was included on that 1972 Joplin In Concert album. Video of the performances was included on the Festival Express DVD.
In the Tell Mama video shown on MTV in the 1980s, Joplin wore a psychedelically colored loose-fitting costume and feathers in her hair. This was her standard stage costume in the spring and summer of 1970. She chose the new costumes after her friend and designer, Linda Gravenites (whom Joplin had praised in the May 1968 issue of Vogue), cut ties with Joplin shortly after their return from Brazil, due largely to Joplin's continued use of heroin.
During the Festival Express tour, Joplin was accompanied by Rolling Stone writer David Dalton, who would later write several articles and a book on Joplin. She told Dalton:
I'm a victim of my own insides. There was a time when I wanted to know everything ... It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I just didn't know what to do with it. But now I've learned to make that feeling work for me. I'm full of emotion and I want a release, and if you're on stage and if it's really working and you've got the audience with you, it's a oneness you feel.
Joplin attended the reunion on August 14, accompanied by fellow musician and friend Bob Neuwirth, road manager John Cooke, and her sister Laura, but it reportedly proved to be an unhappy experience for her. Joplin held a press conference in Port Arthur during her reunion visit. Interviewed by Rolling Stone journalist Chet Flippo, she was reported to wear enough jewelry for a "Babylonian whore." When asked by a reporter during the reunion if Joplin entertained at Thomas Jefferson High School when she was a student there, Joplin replied, "Only when I walked down the aisles." Joplin denigrated Port Arthur and the people who'd humiliated her a decade earlier in high school.
Joplin's last public performance, with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, took place on August 12, 1970, at the Harvard Stadium in Boston, Massachusetts. A positive review appeared on the front page of The Harvard Crimson newspaper despite the facts that Full Tilt Boogie performed with makeshift sound amplifiers after their regular equipment was stolen in Boston and Joplin was reportedly so intoxicated when she took the stage, she was only able to perform two songs.
During late August, September and early October 1970, Joplin and her band rehearsed and recorded a new album in Los Angeles with producer Paul A. Rothchild, who had produced recordings for The Doors. Although Joplin died before all the tracks were fully completed, there was still enough usable material to compile a long-playing record.

The result of the sessions was the posthumously released Pearl (1971). It became the biggest selling album of her career and featured her biggest hit single, a cover of Kris Kristofferson's Me and Bobby McGee. Kristofferson had been Joplin's lover in the spring of 1970. The opening track Move Over was written by Joplin, reflecting the way that she felt men treated women. Also included was the social commentary of the a cappella Mercedes Benz, written by Joplin, Bob Neuwirth and beat poet Michael McClure. The track on the album features the first and only take that Joplin recorded. The track Buried Alive In The Blues, to which Joplin had been scheduled to add her vocals on the day she was found dead, was included as an instrumental. In 2003, Pearl was ranked #122 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Joplin checked into the Landmark Motor Hotel on August 24, 1970, which was located in Hollywood Heights near Sunset Sound Recorders where she began rehearsing and recording her album. During the sessions, Joplin continued a relationship with Seth Morgan, a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student, cocaine dealer and future novelist who had visited her new home in Larkspur, California several times in July and August. She and Morgan became engaged to be married in early September even though he visited Sunset Sound Recorders for just eight of the many sessions when Joplin worked, much to her dismay. Much later Morgan told biographer Myra Friedman that as a non-musician he felt excluded while in the studio. He stayed at Joplin's Larkspur home for days at a time while Joplin stayed alone at the Landmark, although several times she visited Larkspur to be with him and to check the progress of renovations she was having done on the house.
Peggy Caserta claimed in her 1973 book Going Down With Janis that she and Joplin had decided mutually in April 1970 to stay away from each other to avoid enabling each other's drug use. Caserta, a former Delta Airlines stewardess and owner of a clothing boutique in the Haight Ashbury, said that by September 1970 she had resorted to smuggling marijuana throughout California and she checked into the Landmark that month because it attracted drug users. Joplin learned of Caserta's presence in Los Angeles and staying at the same hotel from a heroin dealer who made deliveries to the Landmark. Joplin begged Caserta for heroin and within a few days became a regular customer of that heroin dealer.
Joplin's manager Albert Grossman and his assistant Myra Friedman had taken part in an intervention with Joplin the previous winter. While they worked at Grossman's New York office during the Pearl sessions, they knew Joplin was staying at a Los Angeles hotel but did not know it attracted drug users and dealers.
The last recordings Joplin completed were on October 1, 1970 — Mercedes Benz and a birthday greeting for John Lennon, the Dale Evans Happy Trails. Lennon, whose birthday was October 9, later told Dick Cavett that her taped greeting arrived at his home after her death. On Saturday, October 3, Joplin visited Sunset Sound Recorders in Los Angeles to listen to the instrumental track for Nick Gravenites' song Buried Alive in the Blues prior to recording the vocal track, scheduled for the next day. At some point on Saturday, she learned by telephone that Seth Morgan was staying at her home and using her pool table with other women he had met that day. In the studio she was heard expressing anger about this and about Morgan having broken a promise to visit her the previous night, although she also expressed joy about the progress of the sessions. She and band member Ken Pearson went from the studio to Barney's Beanery  for drinks. After midnight, Joplin drove him and a male fan who tagged along to the Landmark Motor Hotel.

When Joplin failed to show up at Sunset Sound Recorders for the next recording session by Sunday afternoon, producer Paul A. Rothchild became concerned. Full Tilt Boogie's road manager, John Cooke, drove to the Landmark. He saw Joplin's psychedelically painted Porsche 356C Cabriolet in the parking lot. Upon entering her room, he found her dead on the floor beside her bed. The official cause of death was an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol. Cooke believes that Joplin had accidentally been given heroin which was much more potent than normal, as several of her dealer's other customers also overdosed that week. Peggy Caserta admitted that, like Seth Morgan, she, too, had promised to visit Joplin at the Landmark on Friday night, October 2 and had stood her up in order to party with drug users who were staying at another Los Angeles hotel. According to Going Down With Janis, Caserta learned from the dealer who sold heroin to her and Joplin that on Saturday Joplin expressed sadness about two friends having abandoned her the previous night.
Joplin was cremated in the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Mortuary in Los Angeles; her ashes were scattered from a plane into the Pacific Ocean and along Stinson Beach. The only funeral service was a private affair held at Pierce Brothers and attended by Joplin's parents and maternal aunt.
Joplin's will funded $2,500 to throw a wake party in the event of her demise. Around 200 guests received invitations to the party that read, “Drinks are on Pearl,” a reference to Joplin’s nickname. The party, which took place October 26, 1970, at the Lion's Share, located in San Anselmo, California, was attended by Joplin's sister Laura, fiancé, Seth Morgan and close friends, including tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle, Bob Gordon, and road manager John Cooke. Hash brownies were passed around.

Janis Joplin (19 de enero de 1943, Port Arthur, Texas – 4 de octubre de 1970, Los Ángeles, California) fue una cantante estadounidense de rock and roll y blues caracterizada por su voz y su espíritu rebelde. Su nombre completo es Janis Lyn Joplin.
Fue un símbolo femenino de la contracultura de los 60 y el movimiento Hippie y la primera mujer en ser considerada una gran estrella del Rock and Roll. En 1995 ingresó al Salón de la Fama del Rock. En el 2004 la revista Rolling Stone la colocó en el lugar 46 de los 100 mejores artistas más grandes de todos los tiempos. En el 2008 la colocó en el lugar 28 de los mejores 100 cantantes de todos los tiempos.
Nació el 19 de enero de 1943 en Port Arthur, localidad industrial de Texas. Sus padres, Seth (quien trabajaba en una refinería) y Dorothy (que había destacado cantando en su instituto) hubieran querido que Janis fuera maestra. Tenía dos hermanos menores, Michael y Laura.
Janis, en el primer año de instituto, se unió a una pandilla de jóvenes intelectuales (beats o beatniks), por lo que se convirtió en una marginada por sus compañeros de clase, siendo durante esta etapa una persona muy impopular, acusándosela de "amiga de los negros" por rechazar el racismo. A los dieciséis años comenzó a manifestar su amor por la música, frecuentando los bares de Luisiana, donde escuchaba música negra, de blues y jazz y a los diecisiete comenzó a cantar.

Cuando estudiaba Bellas Artes en la Universidad de Texas, comenzó a cantar de forma habitual en bares. Participaba frecuentemente con la Waller Creek Boys. Allí es dónde empezó a ganarse su reputación como fuerte bebedora. En 1963, se trasladó a la ciudad de San Francisco dónde empezó a ser conocida. Estando allí conoció a muchos músicos con los que más tarde se reencontraría, como su amante Ron "Pigpen" McKernan" (después, miembro de The Grateful Dead) y grabó un disco casero con Jorma Kaukonen (futuro guitarrista de Jefferson Airplane) y Margareta Kaukonen en la máquina de escribir (como instrumento de percusión). Fue en este periodo cuando comenzó el contacto con la droga y se sumió en un estado de abandono, llegando a pesar 35 kilos. En el 1965 anunció entonces a su familia que volvería a sus estudios universitarios, y que se casaría con un hombre que había conocido en San Francisco, conocido como Peter LeBlanc, pero el enlace no tuvo lugar, ya que Peter LeBlanc la abandonó y esto marcaría aún más su inseguridad afectiva y su sentimiento de soledad.
Cansada de esperar a LeBlanc y de ser una chica buena, se fue a San Francisco con Chet Helms, un productor que conoció en Texas. Se unió a la banda Big Brother and the Holding Company el 4 de julio de 1966, logrando una combinación perfecta. Fue Chet Helms el que la llevó a San Francisco con la oferta de que se uniese a ella, ya que Chet Helms era el mánager de la banda, con la que grabaría su primer álbum con discográfica, Big Brother and the Holding Company, que no pasó desapercibido. Joplin amaba la libertad creativa de la escena musical en San Francisco. Solían actuar junto con otros grupos psicodélicos cómo The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service y The Charlatans en las famosas salas de danzas Avalon Ballroom, Fillmore East y Fillmore West, o con festivales al aire libre en el Golden Gate Park y en Haight-Ashbury.
Actuó con su banda en el Festival de Monterey de 1967 junto con algunos grandes artistas del momento cómo Jimi Hendrix, The Mamas and The Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Otis Redding y The Who entre otros. La primera actuación de los Big Brother no fue filmada y les pidieron que tocasen al día siguiente, así que tocaron Combination Of The Two, y Janis dejó a la audiencia boquiabierta con una versión del emblemático blues de Big Mama Thornton, «Ball And Chain».
A partir de entonces fueron contratados por el productor de Bob Dylan, Albert Grossman. Joplin eclipsaba a los Big Brother. En la primavera de 1968, se trasladaron a Nueva York para grabar su primer disco. Aquella combinación de música repetitiva, de estilo psicodélico de los 60, con la imponente voz de Joplin, era prodigiosa y Cheap Thrills salió en agosto de 1968. Lanzando a Janis al éxito, a los tres días se hizo disco de oro y en el primer mes se vendieron más de un millón de copias. En el 2003, Cheap Thrills se colocó en el lugar 338 de los 500 mejores álbumes de todos los tiempos.
Las críticas sobre ella fueron muy buenas, y la prensa se empezó a centrar más en ella que en el grupo, todos le decían que ella era demasiado buena para el grupo, había tensión entre ellos a causa del protagonismo de Janis y la fama, y ella quería hacer un estilo más blues y soul, como las cantantes que veneraba, entre ellas Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday o Aretha Franklin, así que después de mucha presión por parte de su manáger, Albert Grossman, se marchó de Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Juntos se pusieron a buscar los mejores músicos del país para crear el nuevo grupo. A principios del 1969 ya estaba creado, aunque los músicos variarían a lo largo del año. Se llevó con ella al guitarrista Sam Andrew de Big Brother and the Holding Company. Con su nueva banda, "Kozmic Blues Band", salió su segundo disco, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, que sonaba distinto a lo que sus oyentes estaban acostumbrados: era una mezcla de rock, soul y blues, y recibió malas críticas, la revista Rolling Stone la denominó la "Judy Garland del rock".
En abril, Janis y la Kozmic Blues Band fueron de gira por Europa, pasando por Frankfurt, Estocolmo, París, Londres, y algunos lugares más, donde el público la acogió muy calurosamente y ella regresó a EE.UU. muy contenta, diciendo que el mejor concierto que había dado en su vida fue en Londres, donde la audiencia se volvió loca.

En ese año, a causa de la presión, se enganchó a la heroína y comenzó a prodigarse en entrevistas, en las que terminaba hablando de su vida y de sus sentimientos. Decía que "hacía el amor con 25000 personas en el escenario y luego se volvía a casa sola..." Cada vez dependía más del alcohol y de la heroína pero sin embargo se había convertido en un símbolo de fuerza y de rebeldía para muchas mujeres de su época.
El 16 de agosto de 1969 actuó con enorme éxito en el festival de Woodstock, dónde realizó dos repeticiones de, «Ball And Chain» y Piece of My Heart.
Pero los músicos de la banda eran sólo profesionales, y Janis quería que su banda fuese como una familia, como en Big Brother, y con el único que acabó conectando fue con el saxofonista Cornelius "Snooky" Flowers. A finales del 1969 Janis estaba ya destrozada y demasiado enganchada a la heroína y al alcohol, así que decidió tomarse un descanso y abandonar la banda. A finales de 1969 la banda se separó. Su último concierto fue en el Madison Square Garden en Nueva York en la noche del 19 y 20 de diciembre de 1969.
En febrero de 1970, se fue de viaje con una amiga a Río de Janeiro por carnaval, a desintoxicarse, por lo menos, de la heroína. Una vez allí conoció a David Niehouse y se enamoraron, estuvieron unos meses por la selva de Brasil viajando como dos viejos beatniks en la carretera y al volver a San Francisco, David se instaló en casa de Janis.
Una vez allí, Albert Grossman, le propuso a Janis una nueva banda, la Full Tilt Boogie Band, y Janis, ya desenganchada de la heroína, pero no del alcohol, aceptó. David Niehouse quería seguir viajando por el mundo y le ofreció irse con ella, pero Janis prefirió quedarse con su audiencia y su música. Así, Janis congenió muy bien con todos los miembros de la banda, ellos la querían y ella los quería.
En verano de ese año, Janis y su banda participaron en el Festival Express, junto otros artistas importantes de la época cómo The Grateful Dead, Buddy Guy y The Band.
En una fiesta de los Hell's Angels de San Francisco, ese mismo verano, conoció a Seth Morgan y se enamoró de él. En septiembre de 1970, se trasladó a Los Ángeles a grabar Pearl. El 4 de octubre de 1970 había sido un buen día en el estudio, y para celebrarlo salió de copas con sus compañeros y se emborrachó. Según el estudio forense, murió a la 1:40 por sobredosis de heroína. Janis ya había pasado por experiencias similares y había salido con vida, pero esta vez no había nadie para ayudarla y su cuerpo fue descubierto unas 18 horas después. Todos quedaron sorprendidos, pues pensaron que Janis ya no consumía, y estaba en la mejor época de su vida.

A las seis semanas de su muerte, salió el disco Pearl, en 1971, que fue un éxito y se mantuvo en el número uno de ventas durante 14 semanas. Como homenaje, se dejó el tema «Mercedes Benz» a capella, sin música, ya que fue la última canción que Janis grabó; asimismo, se incluyó la canción «Buried Alive in the Blues» sólo con música, sin la voz de Janis que habría debido cantarla.
Mientras tanto, el sencillo «Me and Bobby McGee», compuesto por Kris Kristofferson (con quien la cantante tuvo un romance) y Fred Foster, representó su mayor éxito, al ser la única canción de Janis Joplin en alcnazar el Nº 1 en el Billboard Hot 100, por una semana en marzo de 1971.
En el 2003, Pearl se colocó en el lugar 122 de los 500 mejores álbumes de todos los tiempos.
Las circunstancias de la muerte de la cantante fueron confusas, y aún hoy en día despierta diversas hipótesis sobre el hecho.
El sábado 3 de octubre de 1970, Joplin visitó el estudio de grabación Sunset Sound Recorders en Los Angeles, para escuchar la parte instrumental de "Buried Alive in the Blues", antes de grabar su pista vocal programada para el día siguiente. En algún momento de ese mismo día, le comunicaron por teléfono que su prometido Seth Morgan estaba en su casa y que estaba jugando con su mesa de billar junto con otras mujeres que conoció ese sábado. En el estudio se escuchó expresar su enojo ante esa noticia, y por no cumplir Morgan con su promesa de visitarla la noche anterior. A pesar de ello, manifestó alegría por el progreso de la grabación.
En la noche, ella y el miembro de la banda Ken Pearson salieron del estudio hacia el bar Barney's Beanery. Después de la medianoche, Joolin los llevó a él y a un fan a sus casas y luego se retiró a su habitación en el Landmark Motor Hotel.
Al día siguiente, el domingo 4 por la tarde, Joplin no apareció en el estudio según lo convenido, por lo que el productor Phil Rothchil comenzó a preocuparse. El adminsitrador y representante de la banda Full Tilt Boogie, John Cooke, decidió visitarla y encontró su auto psicodélico Porsche 356 C descapotable en el parqueo. Al entrar a la habitación, la encontraron muerta y tirada en el suelo, a un lado de su cama, La causa oficial de su muerte fue una sobredosis de heroína, probablemente bajo los efectos del alcohol. Cooke cree que Joplin accidentalmente recibió heroína de una clase más potente que la normal, debido a la sobredosis de otros adictos en esa semana.
El episodio habría ocurrido alrededor de la 1:45 a.m. del día 4 de octubre. Se dice que esto le habría sucedido en otras ocasiones, pero esta vez, no hubo nadie que la ayudara. Algunas circunstancias que rodearon su muerte nunca se explicaron, como la pureza extrema que tenía la droga que la mató y que las jeringas que usó, no se encontraron, especulando que podría haber una persona involucrada. Por lo mismo, los medios de comunicación le dieron un carácter misterioso a la noticia.
Su amiga y amante Peggy Caserta admitió que, al igual que Seth Morgan, también había prometido visitar a Joplin en la histórica noche del viernes 2 de octubre, pero se había ido de fiesta con otros usuarios de drogas que estaban alojados en otro hotel de Los Angeles. De acuerdo con su libro Going Down With Janis, Caserta escuchó del distribuidor que les vendió la heroína a ella y Joplin el sábado, que la artista le expresó su tristeza por dos amigos que la habían abandonado la noche anterior.
La canción "Buried Alive in the Blues" quedó inconclusa con la trágica muerte de la cantante, auqnue fue finalmente incluida como un tema instrumental en Pearl, a manera de un homenaje póstumo.
Joplin fue incinerada en la funeraria Pierce Brothers Westwood Village en Los Ángeles. De allí sus cenizas fueron esparcidas desde un avión en el Océano Pacífico a lo largo de Stinson Beach. El único servicio fúnebre tuvo un carácter privado, ya que sólo asistieron los padres de Joplin y su tía materna.6
Como testamento, Joplin donó $ 2500 para realizar una fiesta en su honor en caso de su desaparición.

Alrededor de 200 personas recibieron invitaciones para la fiesta que decía: "Las bebidas son por Pearl", una referencia al apodo de la cantante.7 El evento, que tuvo lugar el 26 de octubre de 1970, fue en Lion's Share, localizado en San Anselmo, California contó con la presencia de su hermana Laura y amigos cercanos de Joplin, que incluyó a la artista del tatuaje Lyle Tuttle, el prometido de Joplin, Seth Morgan, Bob Gordon, y su manager de gira John Cooke. Se repartieron brownies mezclados con hachís entre los asistentes.8
En este caso, la muerte de Janis Joplin a la edad de veintisiete años ha causado para ser incluido en el llamado Club de los 27.

jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2011

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She has 20 No.1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Respect" (1967) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987), a duet with George Michael. Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist (14). Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 No.1 R&B albums—more than any other female artist. In 1987, Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was the only featured singer at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
Aretha Louise Franklin (named for two aunts) was born in a two-room house in Memphis located at 406 Lucy St.[6] She was the third of four children born to Barbara (née Siggers) and C.L. Franklin and the fifth of six overall in between past relationships by her parents. Franklin's family moved to Buffalo, when Franklin was two, and then by four, had settled in Detroit. Following the move to Detroit, Franklin's parents, who had a troubled marriage, split. Due to her father's work as a Baptist minister, Franklin was primarily raised by her grandmother, Rachel. Franklin suffered a tragedy when her mother died in Buffalo when Aretha was ten. Franklin sang in church at an early age and learned how to play piano by ear.
By her late preteens, Franklin was regularly singing solo numbers in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church. C.L. (né Clarence LaVaughn) Franklin), Aretha's father, was a respected local preacher. She grew up with local and national celebrities hanging out at her father's home including gospel greats Albertina Walker and her group The Caravans, Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, three women who played a pivotal role in her vocal development as a child.
She released her first single for Columbia in September 1960, aged 18. It reached No. 10 on Billboard's R&B chart. Her first album was released in January 1961. The label had her record mainly jazz-influenced pop music, hoping for success with this format as the label had with Billie Holiday. Columbia founder John H. Hammond later admitted in an interview years later that he felt Columbia did not really understand Franklin's background in gospel and failed to bring that aspect out in her secular recordings. After scoring two more top ten R&B hits with "Operation Heartbreak" and "Won't Be Long" in 1961, Franklin scored her first top 40 pop hit with her rendition of "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody". However later releases failed to find similar success, although Franklin had a near-Top 50 hit with "Runnin' Out of Fools" (1963).

After the release of a tribute album to Dinah Washington, Columbia drifted away from their early jazz dreams for Franklin and had the singer record renditions of girl group-oriented hits including "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)", "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "Mockingbird" but every attempt to bring her success with the material failed. However, she had garnered fame for being a multi-talented vocalist and musician. During a show in 1965, the master of ceremonies gave Franklin a tiara crown declaring her "the queen of soul". The title would prove to be prophetic. By 1966, struggling with recording for Columbia, Franklin decided not to sign a new contract with the label and settled with a deal with Atlantic. After she gained success in Atlantic, Columbia would release material from Franklin's prior recordings with the label which continued until 1969.
Franklin began recording her first songs for Atlantic in early 1967.
Initially sent to Muscle Shoals's legendary FAME studios where the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was the in-house band, Franklin cut her first song – the blues ballad "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", which finally allowed Franklin to show her gospel side. Tensions between Franklin's then-husband and then-manager Ted White and a musician led to Franklin and White hiding from public view in New York. Franklin eventually returned to the studio in New York to record the b-side, the gospel-oriented "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man". "I Never Loved a Man" soared up both the pop and R&B charts upon its release peaking at number-nine and number-one respectively.
Her second single with Atlantic would also be her biggest, most acclaimed work. "Respect", originally recorded and written by R&B singer Otis Redding, would become a bigger hit after Franklin's gospel-fueled rendition of the song. The song also started a pattern of Franklin in later songs during this period producing a call and response vocal with Franklin usually backed up by her sisters Erma and Carolyn Franklin or The Sweet Inspirations. Franklin is credited with arranging the background vocals and ad-libbing the line, "r-e-s-p-e-c-t, find out what it means to me/take care of TCB", while her sisters shouted afterwards, "sock it to me". Franklin's version peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming a sixties anthem. Franklin had three more top ten hits in 1967 – "Baby I Love You", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Chain of Fools". "Respect" later won Franklin her first two Grammys. She eventually won eight consecutive Grammys under the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category.

By the end of the year, Franklin not only became a superstar but she stood as one of the symbols of the civil rights movement partially due to her rendition of "Respect", which had a feminist-powered theme after Franklin recorded it. Franklin's other hits during the late sixties included "Think", her rendition of Dionne Warwick's "I Say a Little Prayer", "Ain't No Way" and "The House That Jack Built" among others. By the end of the sixties, Franklin's title as "the queen of soul" became permanent in the eyes of the media. After a few struggles in 1969, she returned with the ballad, "Call Me" in January 1970. That same year she had another hit with her gospel version of Ben E. King's "Don't Play That Song", while in 1971, Franklin was one of the first black performers to headline Fillmore West[9] where she later released a live album. That same year she released the acclaimed Young, Gifted & Black album, which featured two top ten hits, the ballad "Daydreamin'" and the funk-oriented "Rocksteady". In 1972, she released her first gospel album in nearly two decades with Amazing Grace. The album eventually became her biggest-selling release ever, selling over two million copies and becoming the best-selling gospel album of all time.
Aretha had another number-one R&B hit in 1973 with the Carolyn Franklin and William "Sonny" Sanders-composed "Angel", however its parent album, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), failed to repeat the success of Franklin's other albums. By 1974, after four years performing in Afrocentric-styled clothing, the singer glammed up her look and styled red hair releasing Let Me In Your Life. The album yielded the smash single, "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)".[citation needed] While several singles would later find success on the R&B charts, Franklin was losing favor with pop audiences as soul music was starting to be overtaken by the emerging disco genre. Atlantic Records had also by this point given priority attention to Roberta Flack, leading to relations between Franklin and the company becoming estranged as a result. Franklin turned down a number of tracks giving to her by Marvin Yancy and Chuck Jackson (though eventually they would contribute to her 1975 album, You). Several of the songs including "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" was later recorded by Natalie Cole. After the arrivals of Cole and Chaka Khan, Franklin's star ebbed.
She briefly returned to the top 40 in 1976 with the Curtis Mayfield production, Sparkle, which spawned the number-one R&B hit, "Giving Him Something He Can Feel". Despite this, Franklin struggled to find success with subsequent releases. After the release of 1979's La Diva, an attempt for Franklin to find a disco audience that flopped, selling less than 50,000 copies, Franklin's contract with Atlantic expired. Neither Atlantic nor Aretha had any interest in renewing it. While she was performing in Las Vegas on June 10, 1979, Franklin's father, C.L., was shot during an attempted robbery at his LaSalle Street home in Detroit. The incident left C.L. in a coma for the next five years. Aretha moved back to the Detroit area in late 1982 from Los Angeles (where she had lived since 1976) to help care for her father.

In 1980, Franklin among other prominent rhythm and blues and soul artists including Ray Charles and James Brown appeared on the film, The Blues Brothers. Franklin appeared as the wife of musician Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who engages in a brief war of words with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi before going into "Think". Following that performance, Clive Davis signed Franklin to his Arista Records imprint. The singles "United Together" and the George Benson-featured "Love All the Hurt Away" returned Franklin to the R&B top ten while 1982's Jump to It, featuring a contemporary R&B production style by Luther Vandross, became a comeback of sorts for Franklin on the pop music chart. The album stayed at No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart for seven weeks and crossed to No. 23 on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling over 600,000 units and becoming Aretha's first gold-certified album since the Sparkle soundtrack. The title track became Franklin's first number-one R&B hit in five years while also hitting No. 24 on the Hot 100. After the relative failure of her 1983 follow-up, Get It Right, also produced by Vandross, Franklin took some personal time off.
Following the July 1984 death of her father, she entered the United Sound Studios in Detroit to record a new album for Arista in October of that year. Inspired by the recent success of fellow artist Tina Turner and Arista's emerging star Whitney Houston, Arista paired Franklin with Narada Michael Walden.
The album released in July 1985, Who's Zoomin' Who?, featured R&B, pop, dance, synthpop and rock elements and became Franklin's first platinum-certified success. The album launched several major hits including the title track and the Motown-inspired "Freeway of Love". The rock-influenced Annie Lennox duet, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" also became a hit for Franklin on the pop charts though it failed to climb higher than No.66 on the R&B chart due to its more pop rock-leaning sound. Music Videos for each of the singles became prominent fixtures on MTV, BET and VH-1 among other video channels. In 1986, Franklin released her self-titled follow-up to Who's Zoomin' Who. The album sold almost a million copies, and featured the number-one hit, "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me", a duet with George Michael. In April 1987, the song became Franklin's first single since "Respect" to hit No. 1 on the Hot 100.
Other hits from the album included a cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and another Motown-inspired hit, "Jimmy Lee". In 1987 she returned to her gospel roots with the album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which failed to repeat the success of Amazing Grace despite a powerful rendition of "Oh Happy Day", featuring Mavis Staples, but did reach the Top 10 of Billboard's gospel chart. In 1986, she sang the theme song ("Together") for the ABC television network.

In 1989, Franklin returned with her first pop album in three years with Through the Storm but despite scoring a Top 20 hit with the title track featuring Elton John and the presence of Whitney Houston in their duet single, "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Ever Gonna Be", the album tanked, as did a follow-up, 1991's new jack swing effort, What You See Is What You Sweat. After singing Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free" on the Malcolm X soundtrack in 1992 and singing at then-President Bill Clinton's inauguration ceremony in 1993, Franklin returned to favor with pop audiences later in 1993 with the release of the dance single, "Deeper Love", which was featured on the soundtrack of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. The following year, Franklin issued her Arista hits album and with Babyface released two hit singles, "Honey" and the top 40 pop ballad "Willing to Forgive". In 1995, her song "It Hurts Like Hell" appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Waiting to Exhale. Four years passed until Franklin released another album. 1998's A Rose Is Still a Rose reintroduced Franklin to a new R&B audience and featured elements of neo soul and hip hop soul with production from Lauryn Hill, Jermaine Dupri and Sean "Puffy" Combs. The title track, written and produced by Hill, became Franklin's biggest hit in years reaching number 26 on the Hot 100 and reaching the R&B top five.
She later reprised her role as Matt "Guitar" Murphy's wife in the Blues Brothers remake, Blues Brothers 2000 singing "Respect". She struggled to record a successful follow-up, however, and it would be five more years before a new album emerged. Franklin issued her next album, So Damn Happy, in 2003.
In 2003, after 23 years with Arista, Franklin parted with the company and decided to go on the independent route, forming Aretha's Records two years later. Franklin released a duets compilation album, Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen, in 2007. The album featured the Fantasia duet, "Put You Up on Game", which despite becoming a modest hit on Urban AC radio, stalled at No. 41 on the R&B charts. A year later, Franklin issued her first holiday album, This Christmas, Aretha. After initially being released as a Borders exclusive, it was later released by the DMI label.
In 2008, Franklin was honored as MusiCares "Person of the Year", two days prior to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, where she was awarded her 18th career Grammy. Franklin was personally asked by then newly-elected President Barack Obama to perform at his inauguration singing "My Country 'tis of Thee". The memorable hat she wore at the ceremony was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. In 2010, Franklin received an honorary music degree from Yale University.

In 2010 and through early 2011, Franklin had told the media she had selected actress Halle Berry to play her in the featured role of the legendary singer in a biopic loosely based on Franklin's memoirs, Aretha: From These Roots. In January 2011, Berry turned down the role. Franklin said she's now setting her sights on singers Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson on getting the lucrative role.
Marking her 50th anniversary in show business, Franklin released her thirty-eighth studio album, A Woman Falling Out Of Love, on May 3, 2011, through WalMart. It is the first release off Franklin's own record label, Aretha's Records, a label she formed back in the 1990s. However, Aretha's new disc peaked at a disappointing #54 on Billboard's main album chart, dropping off after only two weeks. She co-produced some of the new tracks. The first single from the album is the ballad "How Long I've Been Waiting" which failed to chart. Ronald Isley will be featured in the album doing the Barbra Streisand standard, "The Way We Were", as he and Franklin covered the Carole King classic, "You've Got a Friend", first issued on Isley's Mr. I album.
Following her exit from the stage in November, 2010 and her surgery the following month, Franklin has recently returned to the stage, rescheduling dates she was forced to cancel due to recent health problems.
In September 2011, Tony Bennett will be releasing a duet with Franklin entitled "How Do You Keep The Music Playing" off of his forthcoming album, Duets II (Tony Bennett album).

Aretha Franklin es una cantante de soul, R&B y gospel. Nació el 25 de marzo de 1942 en Memphis (Tennessee). Apodada como "Lady Soul" o "Queen of soul" (La Dama del Soul o La Reina del Soul), es para algunos una de las artistas más influyentes en la música contemporánea. A mediados de los años 60 se consolidó como estrella femenina del soul, algo que usó en favor de los derechos raciales en Estados Unidos, siendo un elemento influyente dentro del movimiento racial y de la liberación femenina. Ha influido a decenas de artistas, como Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Anastacia, Mariah Carey, Janis Joplin, Natalie Cole, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Aaron Neville, Annie Lennox, Andy Nelson Ibáñez.,Marilina Bertoldi,Mateo Blanco, etc.
Nació el 25 de marzo de 1942 en Memphis (Tennessee), y creció en Detroit. Es hija del predicador Clarence LeVaughn Franklin y la cantante de gospel Barbara Franklin. Su madre abandonó a su familia cuando Aretha era una niña, y poco tiempo después, murió. Su padre vio pronto el talento de Aretha, por lo que quiso que tomara clases de piano, pero ella lo rechazó y prefirió aprender por sí sola con la ayuda de grabaciones. En este tiempo, permanecía en un tour itinerante de gospel, donde uno de los primeros temas que interpretó fue "Precious Lord". Los genios del gospel Clara Ward, James Cleveland y Mahalia Jackson eran íntimos de su familia, por lo que Aretha creció rodeada de ellos. Con quice años tuvo a su primer hijo, y dos años después tuvo el segundo.

Las raíces gospel de Franklin son una de las huellas más personales e influyentes en su carrera. Con sus hermanas Carolyn Franklin y Erma Franklin (ambas mantuvieron también carreras en solitario) cantaba en la Iglesia Bautista de Detroit (First Baptiste Church), que estaba regentada por su padre, C.L. Franklin, un predicador baptista, apodado "La voz del millón de dólares" y uno de los principales confidentes del líder Martin Luther King. Aretha pasó toda su infancia dentro de este ambiente gospel y rodeada de voces del jazz como Dinah Washington y Ella Fitzgerald. Con tan solo 14 años hizo su primera grabación para el sello JVB/Battle Records, luego reeditado por Checker, The gospel soul of Aretha Franklin, en el que se podían oír composiciones gospel con un potente sonido soul, lleno de melodías a piano, instrumento que dominaba desde su infancia. En 1960, viajó hasta Nueva York para tomar clases de técnica vocal y danza. En este tiempo, empezó a grabar demos para enviar a las discográficas.
Tras un tiempo en el que Aretha comenzó a ser considerada una joven prodigio, se comentaba que Motown estaba interesada en ficharla, pero finalmente firmó con el sello Columbia, bajo la dirección de John Hammond. Aretha entró en Columbia como una artista soul, pero con el tiempo, la compañía comenzó a adentrarla en su catálogo de jazz, como se demuestra en Unforgettable: a tribute to Dinah Washington (1964), en el que rinde homenaje a una de sus grandes ídolos. Aretha no estaba de acuerdo con esta guía, ya que se sentía como una artista soul y no como una dama del jazz, aunque en esa época se pudo comprobar la versatilidad musical que poseía y en donde se pueden encontrar muchas de sus más bellas melodías como por ejemplo "Sweet bitter love", "Skylark", "Try a little Tenderness" y muchas otras. Esto fue lo que motivo la salida por decisión propia de Aretha en 1964. En esta época, consiguió éxitos menores entre los que destacan Operation heartbreak, Rock-a-bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody, Lee Cross y Soulville. Tras su marcha de Columbia, editó Songs of faith (1964) con la discográfica en que debutó y donde continuaba ese sentimiento gospel. Un año más tarde, salió Once in a lifetime, bajo el sello Harmony.

Cuando Aretha abandonó Columbia para fichar por la compañía discográfica Atlantic, el productor Jerry Wexler se propuso sacarle todo el soul que llevaba dentro. El primer single que grabó dentro de Atlantic fue "I never loved a man the way I love you", para lo que contaron con el acompañamiento de The Muscle Shoals, en Alabama, a pesar de que la sesión de grabación del tema se tuvo que finalizar en Nueva York. Este tema ha sido avalado por muchos críticos como una de las grandes canciones del soul, y la revista Rolling Stone escribió: "Franklin ha grabado su versión de la maravilla soul, un lamento sobre qué-mal-me-has-tratado, con los The Muscle Shoals, unos chicos blancos de Alabama". El single irrumpió en todas las radios, pero aún lo harían con mucha más fuerza "Respect" -versión de un single que Otis Redding había grabado en 1965- con el cual Aretha se consagraba definitivamente. La canción se grabó en los estudios de Atlantic, en Nueva York, el 14 de febrero de 1967. A la versión original de Redding se le añadió un puente y un solo de saxo, de la mano de King Curtis; también se le añadieron los cambios de acordes del tema "When something is wrong with my baby", de Sam & Dave.
El 10 de marzo de 1967 se editaba el álbum I never loved a man the way I love you, que contenía los dos singles anteriores, además de temas como la versión de la canción de Ray Charles "Drown in my own tears" o las canciones de Sam Cooke "Good times" y "A change is gonna come". Pero Aretha también contribuyó a este álbum como compositora, con los temas "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream", "Baby, Baby, Baby", "Save Me" y "Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)". Ese mismo año, consiguió dos premios Grammy, siendo la segunda mujer en hacerlo. También en 1967 (4 de agosto), editó el disco Aretha arrives, del que se pueden destacar los temas "Satisfaction" y "Baby, I love you". Este segundo álbum en Atlantic alcanzó el número uno, pero no fue tan popular como su predecesor.
En 1968 lanzó Lady soul, con el que volvería a conocer el éxito masivo. El disco contenía éxitos de la música soul como "Chain of fools", "A natural woman" o "Ain't no way". También había colaboraciones de Eric Clapton en el tema "Good to me as I am to you", temas de Ray Charles "Come back baby", James Brown "Money won't change you" y el clásico de Curtis Mayfield "People get ready". En el álbum, colaboraban en los coros de The Sweet Inspirations, compuesto por Doris Troy, Dionne Warwick, su hermana Dee Dee Warwick y la prima de ambas Cissy Houston (madre de Whitney Houston). Seis meses después, se lanzó Aretha now, que continuaba una cadena de éxitos con "Think" y el popular tema de Burt Bacharach "I say a little prayer", y que con anterioridad había interpretado Dionne Warwick. En 1969, el álbum Soul'69 cerraba la década con el éxito de los singles "River's invitation" y "Bring it on home to me".

A finales de la década de los 60 y principios de los 70, Aretha empezó a hacer versiones de temas rock, pop y soul que ya habían sido grandes éxitos; entre ellos, temas de The Beatles como "Let it be" o "Eleanor Rigby", de Simon & Garfunkel, como su versión tan famosa como la original de "Bridge over troubled water"; o artistas soul como Sam Cooke o The Drifters. A principios de los 70, el éxito de Aretha continuaba sin decaer, siendo ya una artista totalmente consagrada dentro del panorama musical internacional.
En 1970 editó dos álbumes. El primero fue "This Girl's in Love With You", un álbum cargado de versiones: "Share Your Love With Me", de Bobby Blue Band, el ya múltiplemente versionado "Son of A Preacher Man", los éxitos de The Beatles "Let it be" y "Eleanor Rigby", el tema interpretado por Rotary Connection o The Staple Singers "The weight", "Dark end of the street", de James Carr... Pero en este álbum uno de los mayores hits fue "Call me", escrito por la propia Aretha. El título del álbum era un remake del tema de Burt Bacharach "This Guy's in Love With You". Ese mismo año, (1970) editó también "Spirit in the dark", en el que vuelve a hacer versiones de B.B. King, Jimmy Reed y Dr. John. En este álbum contó con una instrumentación de lujo por parte de The Muscle Shoals, The Dixie Flyers y el guitarrista Duane Allman. Los dos singles extraídos del álbum fueron "Don't play that song" y el tema escrito por Aretha que daba nombre al álbum. En 1971 salió al mercado la grabación de una actuación en vivo: "Aretha Live at Fillmore West", donde cantaba sus grandes éxitos, a la vez que las versiones de Stephen Stills "Love the One You're With" y de Bread "Make It With You". En este álbum aparecen el saxofonista King Curtis, y una versión de "Spirit in the dark" junto a Ray Charles. Hasta este momento, Aretha seguía haciendo su soul sesentero, con tan solo algunas variaciones como la inclusión de versiones de temas rock; pero, en 1971, con "Young, gifted and black", su sonido empezó a adecuarse a los 70, con un sonido que precedía a la música disco y la inclusión de nuevos ritmos, además de una nueva imagen. Tres de los mayores éxitos de este álbum están escritos por Aretha: "Day dreaming", "Rock steady" y "All the king's horses". Incluyó de nuevo versiones, como "The long and winding road" de The Beatles y "I've been loving you too long" de Otis Redding.

En 1972, llegó el primer álbum totalmente gospel de su carrera, grabado en directo junto a The Southern California Community Choir y James Cleveland. De este disco son famosas su versiones gospel de "You've got a friend", "Wholy Holy" de Marvin Gaye, "How I got Over" de Clara Ward o la tradicional "Precious memories".
Un año después, en 1973, llegó "Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky)", el último álbum de Aretha antes de sucumbir casi totalmente a la música disco. Aparte de hits como "Angel" (compuesta por Carolyn Franklin), "Somewhere" (del compositor y pianista Leonard Bernstein) o "Master of Eyes (The Deepness of Your Eyes)" (escrita por Aretha y Bernice Hart), uno de los mayores impactos que produjo el álbum fue por su original y extraña portada. "Let Me in Your Life", de 1974, mostraba una nueva imagen de Aretha, con una portada en la que ya aparecía como una "diva", envuelta en un abrigo de piel. Seguía sonando a soul, pero su inclusión en la música disco era cada vez mayor. De este álbum salieron dos hits: "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)", interpretada anteriormente por Stevie Wonder, y "I'm in love", escrita por Bobby Womack y convertida en éxito en 1968 por Wilson Pickett. Ese mismo año editó "With Everything I Feel in Me", con el que, de cierta forma, empezó el declive de la artista, saliendo airosos tan solo dos modestos temas: "Without love" y la canción escrita por Aretha que da título al disco. Con "You", en 1975, llegó la caída momentánea; era un álbum en el que el esplendor vocal continuaba, pero la producción y composición no tenían nada que ver con lo anteriormente hecho, y de ahí que sólo se escuchara por muy poco tiempo el primer single, "It Only Happens (When I Look At You)". Pero, tras un año de trabajo, Aretha se cruzó en el camino de Curtis Mayfield, y junto a él creó la banda sonora de la película "Sparkle", con lo que la cantante recuperaba en cierta forma su estatus musical. El single "Sparkle" fue un genial hit; "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" se convertía en un himno; y "Jumpt to it" rompía en las pistas de baile. Parte del éxito del disco fue por las letras creadas por Mayfield, además de por una buena producción y los coros de Kitty Haywood Singers.
En el año 1977, lanzó dos álbumes que tuvieron un modesto éxito, siendo bastante fugaces: "Satisfaction" y "Sweet passion" (de este último destaca el single "Break It to Me Gently"). En esta época de escasos éxitos para la cantante, en 1978 se juntó de nuevo con Curtis Mayfield, quien escribió "I needed baby" dentro del álbum "Almighty Fire". Aretha cerró la década con un álbum que llevaba por nombre aquello que en cierta manera le había hecho caer "La diva" (1979), en el cual se incluían temas escritos por la propia Aretha como "Ladies Only", "Only star", "I was made for you" o "Honey I need your love", de los que ninguno consiguió éxito. Este declive musical se debía sobre todo a la producción de sus álbumes, a la mala promoción y al poco empeño por parte de Atlantic en la carrera de Aretha; por lo que, en 1979, decidió abandonar la compañía para firmar con Arista y el productor Clive Davis.

El 25 de octubre de 1980 comienza una nueva etapa para Aretha Franklin; ese día, se lanza su primer álbum en Arista: "Aretha". El álbum fue producido por Clive Davis y Chuck Jackson, y la promoción fue muy amplia, ya que ella era la primera artista importante que esta discográfica llevaba. Hay versiones, al igual que hizo años antes, pero esta vez con un sonido bastante más pop, y totalmente acorde con los 80; entre estas versiones, están "What a Fool Believes", de The Doobie Brothers y "I Can't Turn You Loose" Otis Redding. El mayor hit extraído del disco fue el tema "United together".
En 1981, llegó "Love All the Hurt Away", que se abría paso en el mercado con el single que da título al disco, un dueto entre Aretha y George Benson. Con este álbum, Aretha volvía a los primeros puestos del panorama musical con un nuevo sonido que mezclaba el soul, rock, urban y quiet storm. Del álbum entraron en las listas de ventas dos temas más, aparte del primer single: "It's my turn" y "Hold on! I'm comin'!", gracias al cual consiguió un Grammy. Pero en 1982, con el disco "Jump to it", llegó de nuevo el gran éxito. Con el tema "Jump to it" consiguió su primer número uno en más de media década. "Love me right" fue otro de los temas que salieron del álbum, consiguiendo también una buena aceptación. En este disco habían trabajado en la composición Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson y la propia Aretha; además, todos ellos bajo la producción de Clive Davis, lo que hizo que este fuera el mayor éxito de Aretha tras mucho tiempo en la sombra. Debido al éxito del álbum anterior en "Get it right" (1983) Luther Vandross creó la mayoría del material para el disco. "Every girl" y "Get it right", ambos temas escritos por Vandross gozaron de gran audiencia, al igual que, en menor medida, la versión del tema de The Temptations "I Wish It Would Rain". En 1984, la discográfica Chess, con la que Aretha había empezado a trabajar en el gospel, editó un álbum grabado junto a su padre, Clarence LeVaughn Franklin, en vivo durante una sesión gospel. Llevaba por título "Never Grow Old".

En 1985, aretha vino con un álbum mucho más pop, "Who's Zoomin' Who?". Puesto que la carrera de Luther Vandross por este tiempo tomaba sus propias riendas como solista, el trabajo de composición que realizó en los dos últimos álbumes, en este lo hacía Narada Michael Walden. Este álbum fue hasta el momento el más laureado de Aretha en la compañía. Contiene algunos de los hits más fuertes de la década, como el reivindicativo "Sisters are doin' it for themselves" junto a Eurythmics. Otros tres singles tuvieron gran impacto en el público: "Freeway of love", "Another night" y "Who's zommin' who?". Por el tema "Freeway of love consiguió ganar dos Grammy. En 1986 se editó otro álbum titulado "Aretha", pero ésta vez con un ambiente mucho más rockero, visible además en su aspecto. Cosechó dos grandes hits con este disco: la canción "Jumpin' Jack Flash" producida por Keith Richards y perteneciente a la banda sonora del mismo nombre; y el dúo junto a George Michael "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". Otros temas con bastante menos repercusión fueron "Jimmy Lee" y el dúo junto a Larry Graham "If You Need My Love Tonight". Quince años después de la grabación de "Amazing grace", en 1987 lanzó "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism", el segundo álbum íntegramente gospel de su carrera. En él colaboran Erma Franklin, Carolyn Franklin, Mavis Staples, C.L. Franklin, Joe Ligon, Jesse Jackson y Jasper Williams.
Tras dos años de descanso, en 1989 editó "Through the storm", un álbum en el que se incluían duetos con grandes estrellas del momento: "Through the storm" con Elton John, "It isn't, it wasn't, it ain't never gonna be" con Whitney Houston, "Gimme your love" junto a James Brown y "If ever a love there was" en compañía de The Four Tops y Kenny G. El trabajo y la presencia en los escenarios de Aretha ya empezaba a ser menos constante, y sus álbumes no eran tan frecuentes como antes. En 1991 lanzó "What you see is what you sweat", del que salieron tres singles con alguna repercusión: "Everyday people", "Someone else's eyes" y "Every changing times" con Michael McDonald. En el álbum se incluye también la versión de "I dreamed a dream" que cantaría ante Bill Clinton. Contenía también un tema junto a Luther Vandross "Doctor's orders". Tras este álbum Aretha tardaría más de siete años en editar un álbum con temas nuevos, pero su paseo por los escenarios nunca cesó.
Desde la edición de su anterior álbum, Aretha tardó mucho en ir de nuevo al estudio a grabar, pero en ese tiempo tuvo una intensa actividad sobre los escenarios estadounidenses. En 1993 y en 1997 cantó en las ceremonias de apertura del gobierno de Bill Clinton; y en 1995 recibiría un Grammy por toda su carrera. En 1998 demostró que era una de las estrellas de la música de nuestro siglo en el espectáculo de VH1, Divas Live, donde actuó con algunas de las artistas que habían roto las listas de ventas en la última década como Mariah Carey, Céline Dion o Shania Twain. "The Queen of Soul", con tan sólo dos actuaciones se convirtió en la estrella de la gala, rindiendo al público a sus pies.

A finales de los '90, Aretha se había trasladado de forma definitiva a Detroit, y hablaba de comenzar a formar una discográfica propia. Uno de los principales motivos de esto era el promover las carreras musicales de sus hijos; Kecalf Cunningham, Eddy Richards y Teddy Richards.
En 1998 lanzó "A rose is still a rose", producido por P. Diddy y Lauryn Hill; siendo el primer álbum de Aretha dentro del R&B contemporáneo y el neo soul, con tendencias hip-hop.
En 2003 volvió con "So damn happy", colaborando con Mary J. Blige y con un sonido totalmente neo soul que en cierta forma volvía a sus raíces. Desde entonces está embarcada en el tour "The Queen Is On", que la lleva por todo Estados Unidos con gran éxito.
En 2007 estaba previsto el lanzamiento de "A woman falling out of love", el primer álbum editado en Aretha Records, y en el que colaborarían artistas gospel como Shirley Caesar o The Clark Sisters, Fantasia Barrino y la estrella del country-pop Faith Hill; pero aún se está a la espera de confirmación de una nueva fecha para el lanzamiento. En noviembre de 2007 lanza "Jewels in the Crown of the Queen", un álbum de duetos, que incluye dos temas nuevos con Fantasia Barrino y John Legend, y en el cual aparecen colaboraciones anteriores con artistas como Whitney Houston, George Michael, George Benson, Luther Vandross o Mary J. Blige.Al mismo tiempo comienza a realizar castings para encontrar cantantes para encarnar su vida en un musical autobiográfico, rumoreándose que algunas de las posibles podrían ser Jennifer Hudson o Fantasia Barrino.
En 2008 ha sido elegida como personaje Musicales del año en el 50 Aniversario de los Premios Grammy, en los cuales ha conseguido su vigésimo galardón gracias al dueto con Mary J. Blige, "You never gonna change my faith". También durante 2008 ha grabado el tema promocional de una empresa privada titulado "Stand up yourself", el cual al mismo tiempo sirve como adelanto para el álbum que prepara.
El martes 20 de enero de 2009 se presentó en el acto de asunción al mando del presidente de los EE.UU., Barack Obama, para cantar el tema "My Country This of Thee".

Está divorciada dos veces, y es madre de cuatro hijos. Dos de ellos, Kecalf y Teddy, son personajes activos dentro del mundo de la música. Teddy es el director artístico y de la banda de músicos de Aretha en sus giras, además de tocar la guitarra eléctrica. Desde 1962 hasta 1969 estuvo casada con Teddy White. En 1978 se casó con el actor Glynn Turman, del que se divorciaría en 1984. Actualmente disfruta de su vida en un noviazgo con Willie Wilkerson.
Aretha Franklin, fue operada a primeros de diciembre de 2010, de un supuesto cáncer de páncreas que, en realidad, resultó ser un dolor punzante en su costado. La artista ha desmentido los rumores sobre un supuesto avanzado cáncer pancreático. Tras la operación, la artista perdió (85 libras) ~40kg, por lo que ahora se encuentra en perfectas condiciones de salud, dado el sobrepeso que acarreaba con ella desde la trágica muerte de sus hermanos Cecil Franklin y Erma Franklin a finales de los noventa y principios de los dos mil.