#AtoZChallenge A is for Aretha


It's time again for the A to Z challenge. The challenge is to write posts 6 days a week (Monday through Saturday) during the month of April.  I've chosen the theme of Women in Music for this years challenge.  Because it is encouraged that you visit other participants in the challenge, I'm going to try to keep my daily posts short.  Battle of the Bands will resume on May 2.

Aretha Franklin had made nine albums while under contract to Columbia Records but had remained commercially unsuccessful. When Columbia Records let Franklin's contract lapse in 1966, Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler quickly signed her, taking her in January 1967 to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, along with recording engineer Tom Dowd and Franklin's then-husband Ted White. Wexler had arranged for Chips Moman and Tommy Cogbill from Stax to join the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section at Rick Hall's FAME Studios. Musicians on the record included Melvin Lastie on trumpet, King Curtis and Charlie Chalmers on tenor sax, Willie Bridges on baritone sax, Spooner Oldham on electric piano, Chips Moman and Jimmy Johnson on guitar, Tommy Cogbill on bass, and Roger Hawkins on drums.

The first song they worked on was one that Franklin had brought with her, written by Ronnie Shannon.

After signing Franklin, Wexler requested her to record a blues song. Franklin later says of her Atlantic tenure that "they just told me to sit on the piano and sing". From the very first chord that Aretha played on the piano, it was clear to everyone that it was a magic moment. It was at that point that Spooner Oldham, who had been hired to play piano, stepped aside to play the electric piano. Within minutes of Franklin's recording, Wexler knew he had a hit.

The FAME session was later disrupted by a fight between Ted White and trumpeter Melvin Lastie after Lastie was seen flirting with Franklin, leaving the B-side, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" unfinished. Wexler recorded more songs with Franklin in Atlantic's New York studio, with some members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section flown in to complete "Do Right Woman" and a number of other tracks (including "Respect").

"I Never Loved a Man" rose to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Franklin's first #1 hit on the R&B charts. It was also the title of Franklin's first Atlantic LP. Franklin would soon become a superstar after the release of this song. The song has since been called a pivotal moment in rock and roll. It ranked #189 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


What does tomorrow bring?

2016 A to Z challenge!
Who will represent the letter B?
Bette Midler?

And while I have your attention...
Do you like to read books? 
Take a look at my new site featuring books!
Literary Gold

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