Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who has been called a national treasure and an international icon, will perform for her metro Detroit fans on Saturday, Aug. 22, at Chene Park, her first time performing at this venue that is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I can’t wait,” said Franklin in a phone interview from her tour bus heading back east from sold-out concerts in California. “Tell everybody in Detroit, I’m bringing it.”
While Franklin won’t reveal all that she’s bringing, she hinted at hitting her hometown hard with some of her classic hits and songs from her latest album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”
Franklin, the first female inductee into the Rock and Roll of Fame, says performing in Detroit is “personal and very special.” It is here that Franklin began singing at New Bethel Church, pastored by her father, the legendary C.L. Franklin.
In the early 1960s, Franklin transitioned to R&B/pop after inking a recording deal with Columbia Records. She had several successful albums and singles, but the best was yet to come. After Columbia, Franklin signed with Atlantic Records and her star power skyrocketed with megahits like “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You),” “Respect,” “Baby I Love You,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools.” “Ain’t No Way” “Think,” “Rock Steady,” “Day Dreaming” and many more.
Interestingly, many people believe the title “Queen of Soul” emanated from Franklin’s constant placement at or near the top of charts.
“Not so,” said Franklin. “That started in Chicago, way back in the day, around 1962. One of the major disc jockeys in Chicago, Pervis Spann, started it when he walked on the stage with a crown for me. As a follow-up, the title ‘Queen of Soul’ started to spread in some of the major music industry publications, as well as with music critics, in music polls and at music award shows.”
Following her stint with Atlantic Records, in 1980 Clive Davis, president/founder of Arista Records, signed Franklin. With Arista, Franklin scored another long string of hits, among them “Jump to It,” “Freeway of Love,” “Get it Right,” “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael), “United Together,” “A Rose is Still a Rose,” “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and “Willing to Forgive,” to name most of the biggest.
Industry historians and insiders say that Aretha Franklin is “the “most charted female recording artist” in the history of the recording industry.
Perhaps Clive Davis summed it up best when he described Franklin in his New York Times best-selling book, “The Soundtrack of My Life.” Davis, who worked with Franklin for over two decades, wrote, “Her singing combines incomparable power and range with the spiritual fervor of gospel, the grit of the street, and the passion and technical facility of opera. For my money, she’s simply the best singer in the world.”
“I’ll take it, I’ll take it!” said Franklin with a laugh when reminded of Davis’ lavish praise. “I love it! It’s a great compliment to be bestowed on one, especially coming from someone as special and great as Clive Davis, who is extremely knowledgeable about the music industry.”
With a 50-year-plus career, Franklin is not slowing down. She continues to perform, record and tour.
“My roots are in Detroit, I’m home,” said Franklin. “I love the city and its people. I still have family in Detroit. It’s a great rallying city, where people root for each other and I love that.”
For tickets and/or more information about Aretha Franklin’s show at Chene Park that will also feature the legendary Isley Brothers, log on to www.cheneparkdetroit.com, or phone the box office at 313.393.7128 or main office at 313.393.0292.