On this Day:
In 1987, Aretha Franklin becomes the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul”, she has twice been placed 9th in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Franklin began her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister.
At the age of 18, she embarked on a music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While her career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success once she signed with Atlantic Records in 1966. Her commercial hits such as “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer” propelled her past her musical peers.
Franklin continued to record acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Spirit in the Dark (1970), Young, Gifted and Black (1972), Amazing Grace (1972), and Sparkle (1976), before experiencing problems with her record company. She left Atlantic in 1979 and signed with Arista Records. She appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers before releasing the successful albums Jump to It (1982), Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985), and Aretha (1986) on the Arista label. In 1998, Franklin returned to the Top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced song “A Rose Is Still a Rose”; later, she released an album of the same name, which was certified gold.
Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 73 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles. Besides the foregoing, Franklin’s well-known hits also include “Ain’t No Way”, “Call Me”, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”, “Spanish Harlem”, “Rock Steady”, “Day Dreaming”, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, “Something He Can Feel”, “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (a duet with George Michael). She won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (1968–1975) and a Grammy Awards Living Legend honor and Lifetime Achievement Award. Franklin is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number one on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and number nine on its list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2019 awarded Franklin a posthumous special citation “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades”. In 2020, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Twenty years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, and Aretha Franklin. Now we have no jobs, no hope, no cash, and no soul.
Second, a Song:
“Think” is a song written by American singer Aretha Franklin and Ted White, and first recorded by Franklin. It was released as a single in 1968, from her Aretha Now album. The song reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Franklin’s seventh top 10 hit in the United States. The song also reached number 1 on the magazine’s Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles, becoming her sixth single to top the chart. The song was written by Franklin and her then husband Ted White. Franklin re-recorded the song in the Atlantic Records New York studio for the soundtrack of the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and in 1989 for the album Through the Storm. Pitchfork placed it at number 15 on its list of “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s”.
Billboard described the single as a “pulsating swinger with another wild performance” that had a similar feel to “Respect” and which it expected would quickly reach a million sales.
The Blues Brothers is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by John Landis. It stars John Belushi as “Joliet” Jake Blues and Dan Aykroyd as his brother Elwood, characters developed from the recurring musical sketch “The Blues Brothers” on NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. The film is set in and around Chicago, Illinois, where it was filmed, and the screenplay was written by Aykroyd and Landis. It features musical numbers by rhythm and blues (R&B), soul, and blues singers James Brown, Cab Calloway (in his final feature film role), Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, and John Lee Hooker. It features non-musical supporting performances by Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Charles Napier and John Candy.
The story is a tale of redemption for paroled convict Jake and his blood brother Elwood, who set out on “a mission from God” to save from foreclosure the Roman Catholic orphanage in which they were raised. To do so, they must reunite their R&B band and organize a performance to earn $5,000 needed to pay the orphanage’s property tax bill. Along the way, they are targeted by a homicidal “mystery woman”, Neo-Nazis, and a country and western band—all while being relentlessly pursued by the police.
Universal Studios, which had won the bidding war for the film, was hoping to take advantage of Belushi’s popularity in the wake of Saturday Night Live, the film Animal House, and The Blues Brothers’ musical success; it soon found itself unable to control production costs. The start of filming was delayed when Aykroyd, who was new to film screenwriting, took six months to deliver a long and unconventional script that Landis had to rewrite before production, which began without a final budget. On location in Chicago, Belushi’s partying and drug use caused lengthy and costly delays that, along with the destructive car chases depicted onscreen, made the final film one of the most expensive comedies ever produced.
Due to concerns that the film would fail, its initial bookings were less than half of those similar films normally received. Released in the United States on June 20, 1980, it received mostly positive reviews from critics and grossed over $115 million in theaters worldwide before its release on home video, and has become a cult classic over the years. A sequel, Blues Brothers 2000, was released in 1998 to critical and commercial failure.
In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” (per Wikipedia).
Here are The Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin singing “Think”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“I think it would be a far greater world if people were kinder and more respectful to each other.” – Aretha Franklin
Subscribe: The Smile delivered daily to your Inbox: https://bit.ly/3JniFkq
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky