Welcome to Urth Radio #11 – A Tribute to the Undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. A collection of music from one of the greatest singers of all time supported by tracks her favourite artists and influences.
Rest easy Aretha Franklin.
The world said goodbye to a mighty Queen today, the greatest soul artist of all time passed away in her home in Detroit. Born in Memphis Tennesee to a pastor and gospel singing parents, Aretha embodies the power of soul music, courageously turning sorrow and hardship into powerful, melodic poetry with a voice ranging four octaves of bliss and wonder.
The first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, the humble writer of anthems for women’s and civil rights movements, filling in for Pavarotti, unrehearsed, in a performance of “Nessun Dorma” all the while selling 75 million records. That’s just shy of a million records a year for her lifetime. Barack Obama was lucky enough to have her perform at his inauguration and she is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is the queen. There is no ambiguity.
It would be too easy to fill an entire playlist with her music alone but you can do that by yourself, hit shuffle on her discography and you won’t find a lacking minute, I promise. When I’m locked in the editing cave with hours before the horizon, Aretha keeps me energised and it’s impossible to dance/stretch when she lifts the tempo, her music is good for your body and soul.
We’ve put together a selection of our favourites from Aretha, and some of those that defined her incredible life evolving through more than fifty years of music. Aretha’s tracks are accompanied by some her favourites, Sam Cooke, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Wilson Picket, Roberta Flack and Gladys Knight & the Pips.
We picked the tune Outkast used a sample from Aretha in, Jazzy Belle, Aretha later went on to work with Andre 300 on the production of her covers album. Aretha’s older sister, Erma, blitzed her version of “Piece of My Heart” a long time before Janis made the tune famous. There are thousands of tracks out their Aretha and her soul has had an influence of, a testament to her incredible talent and energy.
It’s undoubted that the legacy of Aretha will live for many lifetimes to come, and we thank her for all the glory she gifted whilst she was here.
“I was asked what recording of mine I’d put in a time capsule, and it was ‘Respect.’ Because people want respect… Even small children, even babies. As people, we deserve respect from one another.”
—Aretha Franklin 1942–2018.
You can find the rest of the Urth Radio playlists on Spotify here.