Late last night Japan time, the world experienced the passing of a musical legend. Even before I was born, this legend was a staple of American popular music. In the 20th century and 21st century, you always heard one of her songs anywhere you went: on the TV, on the radio, and in the supermarket. She has been and still will be in the hearts of many. This legend is…
Aretha Franklin has been influential in American pop culture ever since she got her start in the 1950s. Although she didn’t become popular until the late 60s, Franklin was instrumental, with her background in gospel music, in a period when popular music was trying to find its roots. This influential singer helped to bring soul music into popularity with such hits like “Respect” and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”. But most importantly, she was of many influential artists that helped soul find it’s own definition.
“Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” are iconic songs. But, my favorite song from Aretha Franklin is her 1968 song “I Say a Little Prayer”. When I first listen to it, I fell in love with the chorus. It is so dynamic; Franklin is singing “forever” in a powerful call-and-response while the chorus is singing the chorus’ lyrics soulfully. Afterward, she ends the chorus by holding a note and then sliding down the scale. Franklin does this in a way that is warm and sultry. I love Franklin’s vocals in this song as they are soulful, powerful, and colorful.
I also like how “I Say a Little Prayer” is an upbeat piece. Written in the key of A Major and with a tempo clocking at 132 BPM, this tune is bouncy and upbeat. The drummer helps to keep the beat in line with rim clicks performed on each downbeat. I just want to dance (or bobble up and down) thanks to these rim clicks guiding the beat and making it easy to follow along.
“I Say a Little Prayer” is a soulful piece that was originally performed by Dionne Warwick in 1967. Yet, Aretha Franklin took the song and made it her own by her soulful, colorful voice and her artistic style. “I Say a Little Prayer” is a beautiful example of how powerful and awe-inspiring were Franklin’s talents and how she would be a force to be reckoned with in the musical world for eternity.
The Queen of Soul herself performed the hit last year at Elton John’s AIDS Gala. You can check out here.
What is your favorite Aretha Franklin song? What is about Aretha Franklin that resonates in your life? Comment below!