Remembering Aretha Franklin on the 80th Birthday of One of the Greatest Voices Ever Recorded

By Doug Draper, a life-long Aretha fan

Posted March 25th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Aretha Franklin in the mid-1960s – young, gifted and already wowing millions of us around the world.

It was a warm evening in late June, 1994 when my wife Mary and I walked through the gates of Artpark in Lewiston, New York. And we knew, before we took our seats that we were in for something every special.

The performer that evening was Aretha Franklin, who had already cemented her legacy as “The Queen of Soul” and the greatest female singers of her generation.

We sat there in awe as her voice seemed to ring out over the audience and onward to the Niagara River. It would not have surprised me if you could still hear her at Queenston Heights on the other side.

What got me too was how effortlessly, even in the most raucous of numbers like “Think” or “Respect” every note rang out. “Her voice was all-powerful and all-consuming,” read a review in The Buffalo News the following day.”

Aretha Franklin, continued the review, “offered one of those rare concert experiences where the performer surpasses expectations.”

The Queen of Soul most certainly did.

Aretha Franklin was born 80 years ago – March 25th, 1942 – and died four years ago at age 76.

As a tribute to her, I leave you with one of my favourite Aretha recordings from 1968 called “Since You’ve Been Gone  – Sweet, Sweet Baby.” From her classic Lady Soul album.

You can hear it by clicking on the screen immediately below –

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