Nobody has a grip on me quite like Aretha. With a voice so boundlessly deep and pure, she always succeeds at grabbing my ears, mind, and heart and leaving me in total awe of her continual power.
In a 1958 essay on fellow powerhouse Mahalia Jackson, Ralph Ellison captured the truly meritocratic power of both women: "There are certain women singers who possess, beyond all the boundaries of our admiration for their art, an uncanny power to evoke our love. Indeed, we feel that if the idea of aristocracy is more than mere class conceit, then these surely are our natural queens." My Queen of Soul just celebrated her 75th year on her musical throne, and I'm feeling like it's time for some commemoration.
Sonic Editions is a maker of limited-edition high-quality prints from the worlds of art & culture. There are a few beauties in their Aretha Franklin collection, but one really, for lack of a better phrase, sings to me. It's a candid of Aretha in the recording studio on New Year's Eve in 1969.
At the piano with her eyes closed and mouth open, it's a visual representation of a gift that has given me, and millions of others, countless hours of joy and happiness and has left a lasting mark on the American experience.
Shop the Aretha Franklin collection at Sonic Editions.