Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of an international institution as she's become, much of her work outside of her recordings for Atlantic in the late '60s and early '70s is erratic and only fitfully inspired, making discretion a necessity when collecting her records.
This live video, shot in 1985 for the acclaimed PBS music series Soundstage, captures Franklin at her best in a concert at Chicago's Park West club. Hear Aretha sing her great songs, including "Respect", "Freeway of Love", "Think", "Rock Steady", "Didn't It Rain", "Something He Can Feel" and "Jump to It".
“Who would’ve ever thought that you’d hear the word ‘happy’ so many times in a King Crimson song” says a grinning Adrian Belew mid-way through what must be one of Crimso’s most playful of gigs. It’s clear from the off that the band are enjoying being back in what is known to be a very KC-friendly venue. Looking out at the crowd Belew exclaims “These are our people!” And he wasn’t the only one to be impressed that night. “Hooray! A most enjoyable show at Park West” wrote Robert Fripp in his diary. “A generous audience and, significantly, the area in front of the band was standing - this is a first at Park West in 23 years of playing here. We are used to looking out at tables, right up to the stage. This seems to be the best format for us: standing at the front, seating at the back, sides & above. A well-spirited performance from band & audience.”
Regarded as one of Aretha’s best albums off Atlantic Records, Let Me In Your Life reached #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B charts. Teaming up with legendary Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, the queen of soul delivered her trademark vocal chops. The recording would yield three highly successful singles, “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” and “I’m In Love.” The track, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” would win Aretha a GRAMMY® for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
It's nearly impossible to single out any of Aretha Franklin's early-'70s albums for Atlantic as being her best, particularly given the breadth of her output during this era. In terms of albums rather than singles, it's probably her strongest era, and if you count live albums like Amazing Grace, choosing a standout or a favorite record isn't any easier. Yet of this stunning era, Young, Gifted and Black certainly ranks highly among her studio efforts, with many arguing that it may be her greatest. The album is Top 10 Gold-certified. The album won Aretha a 1972 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance of the year.