Monday, November 3, 2014

Aretha Franklin, The #67 Artist of the Seventies*

This superstar began playing gospel caravan tours at the age of 14 in various churches.  She signed her first recording contract with J.V.B. Records in 1956.  Aretha signed a major deal with Columbia Records in 1960.  She began enjoying great success on the R&B chart, and was extremely successful in live performances. 

But in 1967, Aretha did not renew her contract with Columbia, choosing instead to move to Atlantic Records.  It wasn't long until Franklin hit #1 with her cover of Otis Redding's song "Respect".  Aretha followed with hit after hit, becoming one of the top artists of the decade.

Franklin released two albums in 1970, This Girls in Love with You and Spirit in the Dark.  Neither achieved the sales level of her 60's albums, as neither achieved sales of 500,000 units.  The singles "Call Me" and "Don't Play That Song" both went to #1 on the R&B chart, and the latter reached #11 overall and went Gold.  "Don't Play That Song" earned Franklin a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
In 1971, Aretha became the first R&B artist to headline Fillmore West.  She hit the Top 10 again with her remake of the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water".  It also was a #1 R&B hit and #6 overall, and sold over one million copies.  Aretha captured another Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Franklin then scored another of her biggest hits with her cover of the Ben E. King song "Spanish Harlem".  It hit #2 in the U.S. and #5 in Canada.

Aretha followed the million-seller with another, "Rock Steady", which went to #9.

In 1972, Franklin released the album Young, Gifted and Black.  The single "Day Dreaming" gave her another #1 R&B hit that peaked at #5 on the Popular chart.


 Aretha captured another Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, which was awarded for the entire album.  We want to also feature the title track.


The following year, Franklin released the album Let Me in Your Life, which contained the hit single "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna' Do)".  It was another #1 R&B smash that climbed to #3 overall in the U.S. and #8 in Canada.  Franklin was honored at the American Music Awards with the Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist.

That would be Franklin's final big hit of the decade.  Franklin continued to enjoy R&B success, but uncharacteristically failed to find the overall Top 10 with her next 16 single releases, a skid which hit 28 straight until "Freeway Of Love" in 1985.

Franklin scored 26 hits in the decade, but only sold five million albums.  Five of those 26 hits reached the Top 10.

In 1979, Aretha was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 1987, Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Aretha won the Grammy Legend Award in 1991, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.  She also received a medal from the Kennedy Center Honors.

In 2005, the Queen of Soul received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  In 2008, Franklin received the MusicCares Person of the Year.  

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