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The thrill and the truth of Aretha Franklin

Updated : August 17, 2018 10:05 AM IST

Like the best actors and poets, nothing came between how Aretha Franklin felt and what she could express, between what she expressed and how we responded. Blissful on "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman." Despairing on "Ain't No Way." Up front forever on her feminist and civil rights anthem "Respect."
Rolling Stone ranked her first on its list of the top 100 singers. Franklin was also named one of the 20 most important entertainers of the 20th century by Time magazine, which celebrated her "mezzo-soprano, the gospel growls, the throaty howls, the girlish vocal tickles, the swoops, the dives, the blue-sky high notes, the blue-sea low notes.
If she never quite recaptured the urgency and commercial success of the late '60s, she never relinquished her status as the singer among singers or lost her willingness to test herself, whether interpreting songs by Lauryn Hill and Sean "Diddy" Combs on her acclaimed "A Rose Is Still a Rose" album or filling in at the 1998 Grammy ceremony for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti.
The thrill and the truth of Aretha Franklin
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