Respect by David Ritz


Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin

A candid look at a great soul singer and troubled woman.

500 pages

Amazon Book Preview of “Respect

Excerpts From My Kindle

“Berry Gordy used to say that competition breeds champions,” said Ruth Bowen. “So maybe Aretha’s competitive spirit helped maintain an edge. Personally, I thought that attitude didn’t come from a will to win but just old-fashioned insecurity and fear. It didn’t matter who the female vocalist happened to be: Mavis Staples, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross — Aretha was convinced they were after her throne. – location 4281-4284

“When it became clear that La Diva was not selling,” said Cecil, “Aretha blamed Atlantic.” “In my very long career,” added Ertegun, “I’ve yet to have worked with an artist who took responsibility for a commercial failure. The fault is always with the label.” – location 4454-4456

“Aretha’s not only a great soaring singer, a great gospel singer, soul singer, and jazz singer, but she’s a percussive singer. By that I mean she has the sensibility of a drummer. So if a groove is slick, she’ll find a way to kick back and push it in the most subtle ways. ‘Jump to It’ is basically a rhythm thing. For it to work, enormous vocal variations are required to keep it interesting. Aretha has variations to spare. The track was already hot, but she completely burned it up and set the studio on fire.” – location 4846-4849

Having grown up on Ebony and Jet, I remember reading all these articles about her. Seems like there was one every week. In every one, you got the idea that she lived the perfect life. Happy at home. Happy with her man. Her career going full blast. She had it all. But in person, I encountered this rather lonely woman who wasn’t happy at all. Naturally, a lot of that had to do with her daddy. – location 4857-4860

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