Who is the next Queen? The true Queen? I really do no think there is one… not like that… not like Aretha.
It’s not just that Aretha Franklin has shuffled off this mortal coil… it’s that there really is no one else. There was a rich period in time when blues and soul singers and groups were all over the place. Now… they are not.
Six decades… Six…Aretha TRULY was the Queen Of Soul… the first Diva… an icon on and off stage. While we are lucky enough to have some amazing performers these days, it is just different. Maybe we no longer have the ability to be surprised or amazed. I hate to think that, that is what it is… and while times were different back then, there was just some kind of magic that seems to be missing in the world as of late.
Artists were bigger than life back then… and maybe that is what we needed, when we needed it…
But if you watch the news or feel the world, as so many of us do… deeply… profoundly… you would agree that we need that now more than ever. So who is there to not only take the mantle, but lift it high and towards the heavens?
“The blues had a baby and they named it Rock N’ Roll.”
So said Muddy Waters.
I grew up as a child of classic rock. That is what I listened to for as long as I can remember. It took me going to college in Chicago in order to really work backwards… to truly hear and fall in love with the Blues, Soul, Gospel, R&B…
So since I am a child of classic rock, I guess the Blues are my grandfathers!
As my musical tastes expanded, one of my most prized possessions was and still is the Atlantic Rhythm and Blues (1947-1974) Box Set.
Ruth Brown… Joe Turner… Ray Charles… Clyde McPhatter… Ivory Joe Hunter… Drifters… Coasters… LaVern Baker… Ben E. King… Solomom Burke… Otis Reding… Wilson Pickett… Sam & Dave… Booker T. & The M.G.’s… and Aretha… Aretha… Aretha…
She was all over this collection. She opened my eyes and my ears.
Aretha was the first woman admitted to the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame… The Blues Brothers movie… an iconic film for me on so many levels…
She was on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement… the soundtrack to that and to so many lives… She served G-d and the people of Detroit.
She was a singer… an ambassador… an inspiration. She was and will always be SOUL.
She seemed to be most proud of being a Mother and friend. And after all, isn’t that the legacy we all want to leave??? Kindness, love and to play happily in the memories of friends and loved ones…
She played for Kings and Queens… she played for the world. And now royalty and the world mourn.
But the silver lining in this dreary and cloudy day in Detroit… We have Vinyl… we have digital… we have music to crank to 11… We still have songs to sing…music to get us through our daily battles… music to raise our spirits and uplift our souls.
And isn’t that what soul music is? Music to soothe a weary soul… Heck, isn’t that what MUSIC is?!
So “Sing… sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong.”
Aretha was part of the Baptist church, so let us all be baptized…
Let the music wash over us… envelop us… embrace us… comfort us…
Let each note, like each and every single drop of rain, holy rain, go into our very being… pierce our soul and our heart… and yet, at the very same time, heal it… heal us.
“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.” – Aretha Franklin
The Queen is dead… Long live the music of the Queen!