Respect!

 

Her musical accomplishments were unprecedented. The Queen of Soul could belt a ballad to beat any band. But Aretha Franklin taught us what is perhaps the most important lesson one can learn in a lifetime: We deserve Respect.

Today we bid good-bye to this talented icon.

Ironically, she shares this death date with another all time great, Elvis “The King” Presley, whom we lost way back in 1977. There seems to be a great symmetry in this. The King of Rock and the Queen of Soul had a lot in common. Both started from humble beginnings, singing Gospel. Both went on to conquer every corner of the music industry including Soul, Blues, Jazz, Ballads, Rock and R &B.

Aretha’s accomplishments are no less that royal.  Born in Detroit, Michigan on March 25, 1942, she began her career singing Gospel in  the New Bethel Baptist Church where her father was a minister. This daughter of a preacher-man would go on to gain unprecedented fame and fortune.

Franklin won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and sold over 75 million records worldwide. In 1987 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame. She was the first female artist to be inducted! Yes, Aretha called for “Respect” and got it!

In 2002 she was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. Ironically, although her roots were in Gospel, it was not until 2012 that Aretha was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She was listed in Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

That is a lot of awards and inductions! 

As a native Chicagoan and a Blues fan, one of my favorite comedies is “The Blues Brothers” starring the late great John Belushi, with a cameo from Aretha.  (If you have not yet seen it and you like to laugh, stream it immediately.)

Elwood Blues and his brother Jake (who just got released from the Joliet Maximum Security Prison)  embark on a “mission from God”. Their aim is to collect money for the orphanage where they were raised to prevent its closing. They will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. (Besides, if they lose they will face the wrath of The Penguin, their childhood nun. She is pretty scary.)

However, the only way Jake and Elwood can possibly earn any money is through music, in which case they must Get the Band Back Together.

At the local soul food diner, they attempt to recruit Matt “Guitar” Murphy. His wife Mrs Murphy, played by Franklin, has other ideas! (Obviously Jake and Elwood missed their mark. They would have done better to just recruit Aretha and the Murphettes!)

Aretha demanded Respect,  taught us  the importance of A Natural Woman and engaged in a good deal of Day Dreaming. But my favorite Aretha song is “Spanish Harlem” written by Ben E, King.

“It is the special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street
Right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming”

Performed here by the Queen of Soul herself.  Hope you like it!

Aretha Franklin Rock In Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Mick!

 

Happy Birthday to Michael Phillip Jagger, my all-time favorite Rock & Roller!!!

He was born on this day, July 26th, 1943 in Dartford, Kent. He hails from a long line of teachers, but young Mick became enamored with music and singing at an early age.

Believe it or not, he started out as a choir boy,  singing in his local church.  This little tyke got no Sympathy from the Devil — or perhaps he did!

Mick Jagger first met Keith Richards  when they were just little lads attending Wentworth Primary School in Dartford. The year was 1950. The two lost contact as children, but ten years later, as teenagers, they would reunite again in a chance encounter on a train platform in Dartford.  They began a conversation about music. Each had a deep love for rhythm and blues — probably a bit unusual for English kids at that time.  Needless to say, a life long friendship was born.

Jagger and Richards, along with Brian Jones would go on to form  The Rolling Stones, arguably the best ever Rock & Roll band. Their first appearance was on July 12, 1962 at the Marquee Club in London. Their name ‘The Rolling Stones” was taken from a song by  Blues legend Muddy Waters, a favorite of both Mick and Keith.

Years later, they would perform with Muddy himself (in my home town, Chicago! 🙂 )

To date, the Rolling Stones have released 30 studio albums, 24 live albums, 25 compilation albums, three extended play singles, and 120 singles.  The band has been together for fifty six years! (So much for fickle break ups and the questionable longevity of rock bands…)

Reportedly, the relationship between Mick and Keith has not been without its stresses. Best friends are often constant competitors. Keith has called Mick “an unbearable snob”  but also states: “I still love him dearly … your friends don’t have to be perfect.”

Whatever their relationship, no one can deny that these two are an amazing force of musical talent.

FUN FACTS:

  • Mick Jagger became an official “Sir” in 2003 when he received a Knighthood from Charles, Prince of Wales.
  • Yes — he received the Knighthood from Charles because Queen Elizabeth II refused to award him in person! (Sorry Mick, looks like you can only get so “Respectable”.)
  • Mick returned the snub by being absent from the Queen’s 50 -Year  Golden Jubilee pop concert, which commemorated her 50 years on the throne. Ouch!
  • He is an avid supporter of music instruction in schools. His pet projects are The Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford and The Red Rooster Programme.
  • He has eight children by five women, five grandchildren, and one great- grandchild.  Some of the Jagger family tree:

  • His oldest child, Karis Jagger, was born in 1970. His youngest to date, Deveraux Octavian Basil Jagger, was born in 2016. Go Mick!
  • Regarding Mick’s Knighthood, drummer Charlie Watts sarcastically commented: “Anybody else would be lynched: 18 wives and 20 children and he’s knighted, fantastic!”
  • He has been immortalized in evolution! A 19 million year old species of long legged pig was named after Mick. In  2014, the “Jaggermeryx naida” (“Jagger’s water nymph.”) was officially christened by the scientific community.

  • Sir Mick is a very wealthy man, with a net worth of $360 million.
  • This rock legend has become the subject of many a pop song. Don McClean immortalized him in “American Pie” as did Carly Simon in “You’re So Vain.” He is the subject of Maroon 5’s  “Moves like Jagger”, Kesha’s  “Tik Tok” and the Black Eyed Peas’ hit “The Time (Dirty Bit)”.
  • He had tremendous respect for his parents, calling his father, Joe, “the greatest influence on my life.” Joe Jagger lived to the ripe old age of 93.
  • Still a fashion icon, Mick was listed as one of the “50 over fifty” best-dressed by the Guardian in March 2013.

Hey Mick, you’re seventy five!  Recently back from tour in Europe and the U.K., “Moves Like Jagger” is showing no signs of slowing down yet!

And finally, here are the Stones performing their 1972 hit  ‘Tumbling Dice’, which contains the best Rock & Roll line ever written —

FEVER IN THE FUNK HOUSE NOW” 🙂 🙂 🙂