After yesterday’s passing of Aretha Franklin, the world has joined in an outpouring of grief, love, and remembrance for the Queen of Soul. Aretha Franklin’s contribution to the institution of American music is incomparable. As Barack Obama put it after her iconic performance at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, “American history wells up when Aretha sings. That’s why, when she sits down at a piano and sings ‘A Natural Woman,’ she can move me to tears—the same way that Ray Charles’s version of ‘America the Beautiful’ will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed—because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.”
Today’s CMN Friday playlist is a tribute to Aretha Franklin’s lifetime of work—encompassing her best known hits, powerful live gospel tracks, 80s dance cuts, and early career favorites.
Rest in Power.
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