Long Live The Queen!

By Mark Esposito, FFS Contributor

This month in 1967 a young African-American singer left Columbia Records and traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at FAME studios. Neglected at Columbia, the frustrated singer appeared before the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and belted out a new song,  “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” When she finished and that last note echoed around the room, there were smiles all around and Atlantic Records had a new star. Her gospel background now on full display, she would collaborate with Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, LaVern Baker and the Drifters. The hits would follow: ” I Say A Little Prayer,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” and my favorite, “Chain of Fools.” Her career would span the decades and that soulful voice never faded.

She was christened the Queen of Soul by DJ Pervis Spann and eventually reached that pinnacle of artistic honors by becoming known by one name only, Aretha.

If they have music in the hereafter, I think I know who they are holding the microphone for even now.


About mespo727272

I 'm a plaintiff's personal injury attorney with 30 years of trial experience practicing with my law school classmate in Richmond, Virginia. You can read all about me here: www.schillingandesposito.com
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21 Responses to Long Live The Queen!

  1. swarthmoremom says:

    Lots of favorites in that playlist.

  2. po says:

    Mark, have you watched 20 feet from stardom? The documentary on background singers, especially in soul, rock and r&b? It is a must see!
    I finished it last night, and it gave me a better appreciation for Aretha.

  3. mespo727272 says:


    I haven’t seen it but it’s on the play list now. Thanks.

  4. swarthmoremom says:

    Saw that movie at the theater, po.

  5. po says:

    SWM, I shoulda watched it at the theater too. My computer speakers are ok, but nothing like the big screen’s.

  6. gbk says:

    Jeez, Mespo, I saw this and thought Aretha had left us.

    Nice playlist!

  7. gbk says:

    Nice track, Bob. I didn’t know Aretha had recorded with Duane.

  8. Bob Stone says:


    Here’s the other track I know of.

  9. “At Last,” 10/14

  10. Back when I was in college, studying late into the night, I often had the radio tuned to Rev. C. L. Franklin’s gospel program. In those days of AM radio, when most stations signed off in the evening, listening choices were limited. The Reverend C. L. Franklin preached from his church in Detroit. He made a lot of sense to me back in those days. He was a civil rights advocate, preaching radio sermons that came closer to the teachings of Jesus than most of the stuff we hear from pulpits these days. I remember the singing. He had a great singing voice, and also had this teenage daughter with an otherworldly voice.

    Rev. Franklin died of gunshot wounds suffered during a home invasion robbery in 1979.

  11. mespo727272 says:


    Aretha’s father, “CL”, was a big influence on her life and her music as was her mother’s gospel singing style. She got the title “Voice of the Civil Rights Movement” honestly.

  12. mespo727272 says:


    No she’s very much with us. I am defying someone to find even an average song on that playlist.

  13. swarthmoremom says:

  14. mespo727272 says:

    Thanks, JOF. That song puts me right down in the French Quarter in a little shack of a bar called something like The Spotted Cat, good scotch, smoky room, blue neon in the window, and a group of glassy-eyed customers swaying to something magical. Music can do that to you.

  15. Bob Kauten says:

    Don’t you blaspheme in here!

  16. po says:

    Chuck, I recently read a profile of Aretha in Rolling Stone where she talked about her father being something of a rock star in his own right. He would tour doing sermons, which sounded both like the strangest and the coolest thing at once.

  17. Mike Spindell says:


    I started in the welfare department in 1967. My training group was in the St. Nicholas Welfare vented smack dab in the middle of 125th Street, the heart of Harlem, oneblock down from the famoust Apollo Theater. I was sent out on my first home visits and as I exited onto 125th St. all the retail stores in this central supping districthad loudspeakers outside yo attract customers. That day as I walked down the street

  18. Mike Spindell says:

    That day as I walked down the street all the stores were playing “Respect” and as I went through the crowd of varicolored faces, a lone White guy, everyone was grooving to Aretha and I strangely felt I was home, as I grooved as well.

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