Aretha Franklin calls it quits, well kinda. The almost 75 year old (in March) Queen of Soul, will only perform select shows about once a month. Still in the works though, a new album to be released later this year. In a phone interview with Detroit TV station "WDIV Local 4" Aretha told the news "I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert. This is it."
She also shared that Stevie Wonder will be producing her quite versatile new, not yet titled album: "Of course, several of the songs are going to be produced by Stevie," she said. "There's only one Stevie, right?"
Currently touring on her 2014 release "ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS," that has quite a modern pop/R&B feel to it, the collaboration with Stevie Wonder hopefully lets her shine in a more "old school" way.
Celebrating a secular career that is over 56 years old, if you include her gospel album from 1956 a career that is in its 7th decade. Her early releases on Columbia got her mostly Top Thirty Hits in the R&B Charts, only after switching to Atlantic in 1967 began her star to illuminate many. By the end of that year with big hits like the Otis Redding penned "Respect," Don Covay's "Chain Of Fools" and the self-written "Baby I Love You" she was crowned the Queen of Soul.
In 1967 she had another Top Ten Hit with the Gerry Goffin and Carole King co-write "Natural Woman," a song Aretha sang in 2015 to Carol King as she was bestowed the Kennedy Center Honors, a prize Ms. Franklin herself received as well in 1994. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker and many others - including President Obama, who had to squish a tear - were so taken by her powerful version, that in a later portrait about Ms. Franklin, titled "Soul Survivor" he built his article around that performance. But watch for yourself.
And who could forget her performance as Mrs. Murphy in the 1980 "Blues Brothers" movie with her own composition "Think," a song she originally published in 1968 from her "ARETHA NOW" album. For the movie they recorded a longer version with a sax-riff by Blues Brothers band member, Lou Marini with backing vocals by Elwood & Jake, as well as Aretha's sisters.
Sources: Local 4 Detroit, The New Yorker, Aretha Franklin's webpage