The Electrifying Aretha Franklin


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou says:

    Well said and I feel her loss too.

    Also, thank you for explaining WHY I like Ella’s earlier stuff so much better – something I’ve always found puzzling although now that you’ve laid it out it seems so obvious I’m surprised I didn’t think of it on my own. Ruth Brown strikes me the same way – love her earliest work far better than her most commercially successful work – though Ruth got ornery and amazing in her old age, which was wonderful to see.Report

  2. Amazing piece, leaving little to add. Those early recordings, especially the gospel ones, you not only get her GOAT level voice, but she was a hell of a piano player also. Amazing talent.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Damn, Tod. Leave something for the rest of us to say. This is the most excellent, thorough, and respectful cultural eulogy I’ve read of her anywhere.

    Our culture is poorer for her passing. There is no one on the scene likely to fill the void left in her absence. Many singers can do scales and hit high notes, but from most I hear mainly technical proficiency. Aretha made your tendons looser.

    And she kept it all her life:


  4. Avatar Miss Mary says:

    Beautiful. I miss your writing.Report

  5. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Great piece. I confess to only a pedestrian knowledge of Aretha’s work but I’m going to look up her classic classics now.Report

  6. Avatar Aaron David says:

    My wife and I both teared up at the news of her passing.

    Nice piece Todd.Report

  7. Her entirely deserved nickname was The Queen of Soul and, in retrospect, that seems like such an incredibly vast understatement of what she was capable of.Report

  8. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    …her shows regally sold out…

    Probably an editing miss, but true nonetheless.Report