Loren Wood: Honoring Aretha Franklin
Thank you Aretha. Nobody did it better. You are not only the “Queen of Soul,” you are the “Queen of Music.”
You sang everything from rock and roll (first woman inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), to opera (you “brought the house down” with your 1998 Grammys performance of the opera aria “Nessum Dorma”), to singing your moving rendition of “My Country Tis of The” at President Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration.
Such an amazing career, so a few thank-yous are in order. Thank you:
• Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson for showing us what true friendship means. You were friends in your childhood and remained close friends throughout your lives.
• Elton John for reminding us that Aretha Franklin was also an accomplished piano player. You have called her one of your favorite pianists.
• Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan, Clive Davis and other music promoters, past and present, who brought and bring us so many talented singers like Aretha Franklin.
• To the city of Detroit for producing so many great singers. From Aretha Franklin’s Detroit neighborhood alone you gave us Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops and the Temptations.
• Senator Kamala Harris of California and Senator Orin Hatch of Utah for introducing a bill, which would award the Congressional Gold Medal, posthumously, to Aretha Franklin. You are joined by several other members of Congress.
• To the many thousands of people who will pay their respects to this amazing lady this week. She sang the song “Respect” and then lived a life deserving of respect by working for the respect of all people. Now, many people are coming to say “thank you.”
• To the singers and notable speakers who will offer their thank you’s at Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Friday, Aug. 31. This will, no doubt, be a celebration of life not to be missed.
I would like to end with Willie Nelson’s recent tribute to Aretha Franklin: “Whether it was gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, pop or civil rights, Aretha Franklin was the greatest gift and voice of a generation. She could turn any song into a hymn. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but that band in heaven just got our Angel. Rest in peace Aretha.”
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