Sunday, September 7, 2014


Everyone is familiar with the classic songs from Aretha Franklin such as "Chain of Fools", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Think" and "Respect". But before she became the undisputed "Queen of Soul", Franklin was struggling to find her voice as an artist.

An eighteen year old Franklin recorded a demo that was passed around music circles. Many labels were very interested in the young vocalist but with her father/manager, Reverend C.L. Franklin's help, she decided to go with the well-established Columbia Records in 1960. The label knew they had an amazing talent on their hands but unsure exactly how best to utilize her gift. They had her sing everything; jazz, blues, pop standards and gospel. The results were a mixed bag but Aretha gave it her all.

I'm going to explore some of my favorite songs the singer made before she moved over to Atlantic Records and made musical history. The first tune is "Won't Be Long". This was the second single from her debut album, "Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo" and her second top-ten hit on the r&b chart. This blazing track is a perfect showcase of her power and control while clearly indicating what's to come from this rising star.

"Won't Be Long" - Aretha Franklin (1961)


During a loving musical tribute while receiving this year's lifetime achievement award from BET, we were reminded of what an amazing ...