We lost another multigenerational political and popular icon this week with the passing of Aretha Franklin. Though she lived a full life, performing right until the very end, I still think 76 is far too young.
I won’t rehash any of the great obituaries out there, though I will say I enjoyed this one from NPR. Doubtless you’ve by now read a gazillion times the adage that if Aretha covered your song, that song was no longer yours. I hadn’t realized that her first iconic hit “Respect” was a feminist riff of an Otis Redding song.
So in that vein, let me present to you Aretha singing and owning some songs from artists that grew up on her music.
Rolling In The Deep
I Will Always Love You
A bit of inception here, this song was originally written by Dolly Parton who then gave the rights to Whitney Houston who made it a monster hit. Whitney was Aretha’s goddaughter, and she sang the song in tribute.
Nothing Compares 2 U
A second inception here with a song written by another dearly departed artist sung by someone else. “Nothing…” was written by Prince for Sinead O’Connor. Although Sinead’s version was a hit, I think Prince’s subsequent performances of the song eclipsed hers, especially since she fell from public view. So is Aretha covering Sinead or Prince? Either way, this version sounds nothing like either of them.
I Knew You Were Waiting For Me
This isn’t a cover, I just really like it. And it fits in with the accidental theme here of Aretha’s influence and relationships with younger artists we’ve been so unfortunate to lose in the last few years. Embrace the 80’s cheese-fest!
What’s your favourite Aretha song?