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The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Blog Post: Lady Soul - The life and legacy of Aretha Franklin 1942-2018

She had a voice that perfectly blended the sacred and the secular, one that could scale gospel highs and move effortlessly from jazz and blues to r&b and pop. She also lived an extraordinary life, overcoming numerous personal challenges to become a respected figure of indomitable strength, someone who came to represent both women’s liberation and the civil rights movement. When Aretha Franklin died last week at 76, the legendary artist drew an outpouring of tributes from politicians and pop stars alike.“Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, tweeted Sir Paul McCartney, “the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many, many years. She will b...
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Aretha Franklin - Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics

In many ways, Aretha is the original diva—a singer raised in the gospel church who became a vocal legend with her soaring and swooping mezzo-soprano. Through the ’90s artists from Mariah Carey to Whitney Houston were all students of her style, while more recently Christina Aguilera and Martina McBride have paid their respects. Now the original Queen of Soul, still active at 72, returns the favor by covering classics originally performed by her contemporaries and admirers. Aretha shows off her ecstatic gospel style on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and gets a little funky on a mash up of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Destiny Child’s “I’m a Survivor.” She dips into the ’60s with her pian...
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Aretha Franklin - The Great American Songbook

Aretha is getting the major retrospective treatment with an 11-CD/DVD box set, covering her groundbreaking work from 1960-65. The 18 tracks here focus on songs by stellar composers like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter—all of which showcase the Queen of Soul’s deeply emotive sound. But the real proof of her interpretive powers lies in how Franklin, the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, makes signature songs by legends like Billie Holiday and Otis Redding entirely her own.
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Cover Story: Alicia Keys - Alicia in Wonderland

She has the hooks and the looks—and depth and diversity too. Barely out of her teens, Alicia Keys may be the most sophisticated new artist working in pop music today, the anti-Britney that critics and many discerning listeners have longed for. But is she the real deal? Is she more talent than hype? And can the classically trained singer-pianist possibly live up to the daunting comparisons with her legendary, soulful predecessors?Already, Keys is off to a damn good start. Her debut album, much of which she wrote, arranged and co-produced herself, has sold more than seven million copies and won her a raft of awards, including an astonishing five Grammys. Songs in A Minor features an ambitious,...
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