The Queen Of Soul - The Legend Of Aretha Franklin


0120180819 (6M)Following the sad death of the great Aretha Franklin on 16th August, Paul Sexton introduces episode one of an in-depth profile of the highly talented and influential vocalist, first broadcast in 2011.

Few artists can claim to have invented a musical style. Aretha Franklin was too modest and understated to say so, but she played a major role in creating modern R'n'B, and her singing technique is imitated by many 21st century performers.

The guest list of contributors across the two programmes shows the kind of esteem in which she's held by fellow musicians and admirers: Elton John, George Michael, Dionne Warwick, Ben E King, Jennifer Hudson, Michael McDonald, record mogul Clive Davis, producer Narada Michael Walden and many others, all help explain exactly what made "Lady Soul" unique.

Episode 1, follows the young artist's journey from the church to the charts, singing in her father's church in Detroit and on the road, even after becoming a teenage single parent. Paul considers her often-overlooked time Columbia Records, where Aretha showed her versatility as an interpreter of gospel and secular compositions.

Then the story moves to Atlantic Records, for whom Aretha signed in late 1966 and, where she truly found her voice. Rick Hall, co-founder of FAME Studios, describes how she travelled south and went about creating her first two Atlantic gems, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) and Do Right Woman - Do Right Man: "I don't think she uttered a word except 'I need to use the bathroom,' or 'How you doing?' he says. As her body of work on Atlantic expanded, with such all-time classics as Respect and Chain of Fools, Franklin's fellow artists knew they were listening to a truly great artist.

Part 2 will be broadcast on Sunday 26th August at 0100.

Paul Sexton's in-depth profile of the great Aretha Franklin, first broadcast in 2011.

Paul Sexton presents a two-part profile of 'The Queen Of Soul', Aretha Franklin.

0220180826 (6M)Continuing an in-depth profile of Aretha Franklin, who died on 16th August. Introduced by Paul Sexton and first broadcast in 2011.

In episode 2, Paul continues to shine a light on the life and times of Aretha Franklin. Tonight's programme picks up where the first left off - at the turn of the 1970s - and follows Aretha's story to 2011. It features many more of the songs that made the Queen of Soul's recording career so unforgettable, including the all-time Franklin favourites of Elton John, Jennifer Hudson and Mick Jagger.

The insights are more than just musical, as they also take us into Aretha's personal world. George Michael, for example, remembers their international chart-topping duet I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) and how her skill in the studio extended to more than just singing. Record executive Clive Davis explains how his Arista label revived her career and put her back in the charts.

Elton John describes the feeling of having one of his early songs covered by Aretha when he was just making his own way as an artist, while her record producer Narada Michael Walden (also the writer of such massive hits as Who's Zoomin' Who and Freeway of Love) explains that she would rarely do more than two takes on any song.

Michael McDonald recalls his own thrill at having Franklin cover his Doobie Brothers smash What a Fool Believes and then how he got to duet and perform with her a decade later on the song Ever Changing Times. We hear how Aretha performed for presidents, sang opera at 30 minutes' notice to a multi-million audience, and survived health scares to be active again both on stage and in the studio at the age of 69.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 2011.

Paul Sexton's in-depth profile of the great Aretha Franklin, first broadcast in 2011.

Paul Sexton presents a two-part profile of 'The Queen Of Soul', Aretha Franklin.