Remembering The Queen of Soul

August 16, 2018

-Tim Fuller, USA Today Sports

"We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right."--Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, who died today at the of 76, gave the world so much. I am sure I am not the only one that says her music spoke to me on a deeper level, and her attitude inspired confidence, making many of us feel unafraid to demand respect ourselves.

I was fortunate enough to see Aretha live at Summerfest back in the 1990s. That was when you could get to the grounds early and get a handstamp to see headliners for free. My boyfriend Mike, his teenage son and I didn't want to miss our chance to see the legendary singer, so we got our handstamps and headed to the Amphitheatre to see her show. It was billed as "Aretha Franklin and The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra," so we assumed the Milwaukee musicians were backing her up. Nope. We listened to a full set by the Milwaukee orchestra, before they had to clear the stage and bring out Aretha's orchestra. We did grow impatient as we waited--but were happy to have the opportunity to see Aretha sing, live and in person.

I thought I was going to get to see her again when she was booked at the Madison Bluesfest in 2002, but she canceled and they brought in Lyle Lovett instead. Now I love Lyle, but I wasn't the only one who thought he was an odd choice.

Aretha was a powerful singer--but she was a pretty great actress too. Remember her in the Blues Brothers movie? This scene with Matt Guitar Murphy is great. (He just passed away in June.)