Aretha Franklin... Why is she praised?
Why is this woman considered one of the greatest voices of the 20th Century? Even in her prime, she always hideously screeched everything, doesn't seem to understand the meaning of simply performing a melody (as opposed to deforming it with random screams and tasteless ornamentation), and has some of the dullest, ugliest and most uninspiring catalogue in the history of popular music.
I must say, her godawful rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream' and that monstrosity she perpetrated when she covered for Pavarotti during the Grammys are the stuff of nightmares... And this is the woman who claims to have extensive operatic training, and is thus capable of singing anything! Please!
A wide range doesn't a good singer make, and her horrible voice isn't suited to anything conductive to genuine beauty, or that requires agility.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||10/03/2013|
I remember reading that Aretha has managed to keep some really shocking family business under the radar. Very incestuous family. She did great to get out of that at all.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||09/26/2013|
Puccini would have given her a standing ovation after what she did with Nessum Dorma and he would have said: "cagna possiede quella aria!"
|by Anonymous||reply 13||09/26/2013|
have to say...I have more respect for the singer who sticks to the melody of a song, rather than throw in all kinds of embellishments and grace notes to the point where the song is unrecognizable.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||09/26/2013|
R13, Puccini would have had a diarrhea attack listening to her fucking awful rendition of 'Nessun Dorma'. Even the relatively simple melodic lines of verismo require far too much agility for Whaletha's screechy, heavy and hideous voice.
In spite of her Gargantuan sized ego, Whaletha is to opera what Britney Spears is to singing in general
|by Anonymous||reply 17||09/26/2013|
Maybe OP is onto something. I've always suspected that Aretha Franklin was the godmother of the "screeching black woman" school of music (Hello Whitney Houston) which is so extremely annoying, boring, and yes, soulless.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||09/26/2013|
She peaked at the right time - when the Civil Rights and Womens Movements were at their zenith. Had she been born 10 years earlier or later she'd be more like a Gladys Night.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||09/26/2013|
Totally agree with OP's post.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||09/26/2013|
Honey, I am the Queen. Don't you mention no Diana, BeYAWNce, or any other wanna be's around me. Just sit back, and watch my big tittays floppin, my big arms flappin, and listen to how I never sing the melody. Retha don't need no melody - I sing however I want to, cause I's the Queen. Now hand me my ribs, and diet Coke, and get the fuck out of my bathroom, caus I's got a big deuce to drop.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||09/26/2013|
Her voice isn't nice now. I don't find her soulful at all, but it was good back then.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||09/26/2013|
I never "got" Aretha, either. Whenever someone posts an "overrated" thread, she's my first nomination. I've always thought it's because I never liked her song choices.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||09/26/2013|
[quote]Why is this woman considered one of the greatest voices of the 20th Century
She's right up there in the Top Ten alongside other "greatest voices" like Miss Piggy and Kermit.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||09/27/2013|
OP = tone deaf and stupid.
Aretha Franklin could sing the chrome off a bumper. Her voice is not what it once was but she still deserves, and gets, the respect of discerning music fans.
I hope she kills and eats you, OP.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||09/27/2013|
[quote]Aretha Franklin could sing the chrome off a bumper.
You've got that right. Her voice could sand-blast a battleship.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||09/27/2013|
Well....she's no Amy Winehouse
|by Anonymous||reply 34||09/27/2013|
I like Aretha, but as someone upthread said, all the embellishments are just annoying.
Someone who knows a lot about music once told me that all the vocal pyrotechnics that some singers use (cough Mariah cough) hides the fact that they might be able to hit a note but they can't sustain it.
I'd like just once for someone to just go out and sing at a baseball game and just sing it the way it was written. No showing off, no voice-cracking-through-the-tears mawkish fake emotion, no attention whoring. Just sing.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||09/27/2013|
I'm a huge Aretha fan but I agree that the vocal embellishments that singers use too often nowadays are annoying. Aretha can hit and hold the notes, or at least she could when she was younger. A lot of lesser singers can't so they hide behind all those runs. It's so annoying that I have to turn them off.
I also can't stand that weird Peter Frampton Voicebox sound that a lot of non-singing singers have these days. They end up sounding like Alvin and the Chipmunks, mostly the Chipmunks.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||09/27/2013|
OP = Dionne Warwitch, smoking cigarette butts at the Borgata
|by Anonymous||reply 38||09/27/2013|
[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]
|by Anonymous||reply 39||09/27/2013|
[quote]Many people Aretha's age just give up about their weight, but she committed herself to losing it all
Honey, all the committed to was the surgery.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||10/01/2013|
Love it, R32. Now that is a serious threat.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||10/01/2013|
[quote]Even in her prime, she always hideously screeched everything, doesn't seem to understand the meaning of simply performing a melody (as opposed to deforming it with random screams and tasteless ornamentation), and has some of the dullest, ugliest and most uninspiring catalogue in the history of popular music.
No, not in her prime:
|by Anonymous||reply 42||10/01/2013|
[quote] I hope she kills and eats you, OP.
Sniff....do I schmell ribs???
|by Anonymous||reply 43||10/01/2013|
Long live the Queen!
And for those who say she over embellishes, here's a little something
|by Anonymous||reply 44||10/01/2013|
I'm surprised DL favorite Dionne Warwick hasn't weighed in.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||10/01/2013|
This is pretty simple really. It is called SOUL!!
|by Anonymous||reply 46||10/01/2013|
[R44] Awesome performance, she sings that so effortlessly. Who else could sing that song like that ? No one.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||10/01/2013|
I hate her too. Overblown and obnoxious.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||10/01/2013|
Indeed one of her classics. But listen to her "What I Did For Love" and you can see partially why her career declined.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||10/01/2013|
OP, you do seem to have a bad taste and very little knowledge in music
|by Anonymous||reply 52||10/01/2013|
[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]
|by Anonymous||reply 53||10/01/2013|
I love her. I'm an old queen and the music from the 60's and 70's was the shit! Aretha was in her prime. "Until You Come Back to Me is one of my favorites. Stevie Wonder wrote it for her. Thanks for posting Skylark, too.
The music she did for Columbia was when they were trying to "mainstream " her and move away from the bluesy stuff and the gospel stuff that made her famous. But honestly, the Columbia recordings of Skylark, If Ever I would Leave You, and Sweet Bitter Love are classics. In fact, can anyone find Sweet Bitter Love on You Tube? Beautiful song.
If you ever heard her sing "Ain't No Way" which was written by her sister Carolyn, it was just gorgeous.
|by Anonymous||reply 54||10/01/2013|
OP Aretha took Gospel, where her roots were, and the Blues, and she blended them seamlessly to come up with her own unique brand of Soul music. She was amazing. When she would hit that note, or holler in her own special way, it gave me goose bumps. Not everyone will like her style or appreciate her contribution, but don't denigrate what you don't understand. Just pass on by.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||10/01/2013|
"Won't Be Long" is an early classic.
[quote] "Until You Come Back to Me is one of my favorites. Stevie Wonder wrote it for her.
Are you sure she didn't just cover it?
|by Anonymous||reply 56||10/01/2013|
Yes, I'm sure she didn't just cover it.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||10/01/2013|
Wikipedia says he recorded it in 1967, but it wasn't released until a compilation album ten years later.
Were Wonder and Franklin friendly?
|by Anonymous||reply 58||10/01/2013|
Absolutely friends. Everyone loved Stevie. He was considered a musical genius, and everyone wanted to do something with him, and everyone wanted to do something with Aretha. Check out his early stuff too. That era was pure magic. If you liked that kind of music. The other one from that time that I adored was Marvin Gaye. A classic.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||10/01/2013|
The reason I ask is because Wonder was a Motown Artist, and Berry Gordy wasn't apt to loan out talent.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||10/01/2013|
Aretha was never a part of the Motown stable of performers, but it was a very small community back then in Detroit, before Motown moved to California, and they came up together, lived in the same segregated neighborhoods, and attended the same churches.
People would go to Rev. Franklin's church to hear Aretha sing. His preaching was a draw, but she was definitely the one people came to hear.
Later on, Motown recorded his sermons and recorded Martin Luther King's speeches. and everyone knew each other. Rev. Franklin was active in the Civil Rights movement and was regarded as a leader in Detroit.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||10/01/2013|
It wasn't like Berry Gordy to give away a hit. I wonder why no version was released before Aretha's.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||10/01/2013|
OP are you the same one posting about how Judy Garland couldn't sing?
|by Anonymous||reply 63||10/01/2013|
Lipstickalley has quite a lot to say about Rev Franklin...
|by Anonymous||reply 64||10/01/2013|
Aretha Franklin is and will always be The Queen of Soul.
No one can touch her ability or range. Period.
The Kennedy family being "America's Royalty" is not felt by all, however,
Aretha Franklin is The Queen of Soul.
Too bad Obama did not recognize that Beyoncé tried to be Etta James, who really belonged at the White House inauguration and is also a Legend.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||10/01/2013|
OP, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
|by Anonymous||reply 66||10/01/2013|
Yeah, I agree. I prefer the Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield style of singing. Has anyone ever heard of 60s South African singer Letta M'Bulu? I think her rendition of Masekela's 'What Is Wrong With Groovin' ' is pretty awesome (see link).
|by Anonymous||reply 67||10/01/2013|
This is a comment on the person, not her talent - which is substantial ( You have to listen to early Aretha, and you'll be amazed). Late ( gay ) actor, James Coco, was a friend. When he was at the top of his success, in the early 80's, he went to some entertainment function ( like Golden Globes), and sat next toy Franklin, at a dinner table. How exciting, I thought - you sat next to the legend. I asked what she was like, and he had a 1 word response - 'Grim' When I pushed him to tell other qualities, he replied 'Humorless. Bitchy'. That's how I always think of her, to this day.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||10/02/2013|
Couldn't agree more OP. Each to their own but with the exception of I Say a Little Prayer which she does well I've always thought she was a caterwauling noise.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||10/02/2013|
Aretha has mellowed out, but she was indeed humorless and bitchy, with wild mood swings. She could be very rude. Never one for small talk. She didn't begin to loosed up until the late 80's.
Her trust level with other people was very low and she didn't allow "outsiders" to get too close. She rarely stepped outside her circle of comfort. For her to even consider working with Annie Lenox or George Michael back then would've been unheard of. Same for Mick Jagger.
She married a Pimp. Literally a pimp, Ted White, who "managed" her career and beat her. It was common knowledge in the community. Her father terrorized his kids, and ran her career before Ted White.
Rev. Franklin's imperious personality, and his insular attitude when it came to the outside world. Aretha's realtionships with the artists of Motown were personal, based on growing up in the same neighborhoods, partying together when she could get out.
Barry Gordy embraced the early evolution of the "urban" music sounds. He was a factory worker turned businessman, and his family were entrepeneurs. Aretha's background emphasized the church music, and the blues that came from her deep South roots.
Barry went beyond that. He was very secular. Gospel and spirituals underpinned the music, but Barry fused it with more comtemporary sounds.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||10/02/2013|
Is is true that sister Carolyn was gay?
|by Anonymous||reply 71||10/02/2013|
I also think jazz is ugly and messy, and what's the deal with all these ethnic cuisines, and while we're on the subject, why can't so-called artists all paint like John Singer Sargent. His stuff is so beautiful, it's almost as good as a photograph. Now that's what I call art.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||10/02/2013|
Another one for the crew that says Ree Ree was a screechy hag.
She underplays this beautifully.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||10/02/2013|
R73 = amazing example of unique and exquisite american art.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||10/02/2013|
Was wondering if anyone was ever going to mention her manner as R70 did. Phil Donahue devoted an entire show to her once and you could just *see* the hostility radiating off her, it was astonishing.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||10/02/2013|
It's rumoured she was abused, and even had a baby, by her father. I can see why she'd be extremely reserved.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||10/02/2013|
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)!
|by Anonymous||reply 77||10/02/2013|
She was praised for her looks, OP. God she was gorgeous. It's so unfair that women catch breaks like that. Couldn't sing worth a lick. All that unseemly yowling of Negro spirituals.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||10/02/2013|
No one here has mentioned: great talent respects other great talent.
Very few people today remember. But Aretha loved Judy. Soul to Soul. I don't think they ever met. But Aretha was a big fan of Garland. When Judy died, Aretha went into mourning for a week.
Whatever one may think of her singing style. I don't think anyone can deny that Aretha put her whole self into a song. The same way that Judy did. It is the "soul" they put into their music that makes them both great artists.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||10/02/2013|
Aretha Franklin is the The Godmother Of Soul. When you become the godmother of anything get back to me, please.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||10/02/2013|
Whereas I am, as Beyonce said, The Queen!
|by Anonymous||reply 82||10/02/2013|
R59 Stevie Wonder IS a musical genius.
R54 Columbia was the first label Aretha Franklin was signed to. They were not trying to move her away from the "stuff that made her famous" because she had not yet achieved fame. Columbia didn't really know what to do with Franklin. They took her in a more jazz oriented direction. Her big hits came after she left Columbia and signed with Atlantic.
R81 Aretha is the "Queen of Soul". I'm certain that she would take great umbrage to you referring to her as the "Godmother of Soul".
Op Aretha Franklin is one of the best selling female artist of ALL TIME. Therefore all though you're not one of her fans. Chances are that the vocalist that you do respect and admire are fans of Aretha Franklin.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||10/02/2013|
[quote] Aretha Franklin is one of the best selling female artist of ALL TIME. Therefore all though you're not one of her fans. Chances are that the vocalist that you do respect and admire are fans of Aretha Franklin.
While I agree that a lot of pop/non-classical vocalists would be fans of Franklin in her prime. I wouldn't relate her best-selling status as proof of esteem from other musicians.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||10/02/2013|
[quote]Grim' When I pushed him to tell other qualities, he replied 'Humorless. Bitchy'.
Sounds correct. I know an actress, very well known in her own right, who lives in my building. She pretty much has something good to say about everyone. But she wasn't too impressed with Aretha, whom she described as pretty much of a cunt.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||10/02/2013|
Actually, R84, Aretha has not sold that many records compared to other popular female vocalists. She's not even in the Top 15.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||10/02/2013|
The mark of a great artist is the influence they have on those who followed them. Aretha had a HUGE influence that is felt even to this day.
|by Anonymous||reply 87||10/02/2013|
She screeches way less than Christina Aguilera--how she was proclaimed a "great singer", I will never know. Her rendition of the National Anthem was worse than Roseanne's.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||10/02/2013|
In another lifetime, I used to be involved with producing events. There was a girl singer. Not Aretha, but someone who used to be famous and came up in the same era. She had a fine, strong voice. She'd had several hits and was being coupled with male singers on duets, famous male singers. Very famous.
She was getting ready to really hit it big. But she became difficult. Her ego convinced her she could do without coaching, or vocal instruction. Funny. people like Frank Sinatra worked with a vocal coach regularly, but not this girl.
She wanted to run her own show, produce her own appearances, and would not listen to anyone. She had a very strong voice and she thought belting it out and screaming at the top of her lungs was demonstrating her powerful voice.
It got old fast. It ruined her voice. (She never did learn how to breath properly.) Anyway, she ended up on welfare, got fat and now she's a Diabetic amputee on the dole. She tried to make it in Gospel after she found God, but no one wanted to deal with her "Do you know who I am" ego.
I tell this story because I think Christina Aguilera is like that. You have to wonder who she listens to. Aretha,to her credit, always got help with her voice, but she abused herself in other ways. Aretha smoked cigarettes. I have seen this with my own eyes. And Bless her, but no one could ever tell her how to dress.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||10/02/2013|
R89, who do you refer to lol? Anyways, I think you're right, Ms. Piggy--uh, Christina Aguilera--truly thinks by screaming, she is "singing". If only she could see a vocal coach(or a shrink).
|by Anonymous||reply 90||10/03/2013|