Happy 50th: Aretha Franklin, LADY SOUL
50 years ago today, Aretha Franklin released her third album on Atlantic Records, an LP which contained some of her most iconic singles and – possibly not coincidentally – provided her with her third consecutive #1 album on Billboard’s R&B chart.
Recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City under the watchful eyes and ears of produced Jerry Wexler, LADY SOUL found Franklin maintaining the career momentum that she’d started with her Atlantic debut, I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU, and continued with her sophomore album for the label, ARETHA ARRIVES. With Wexler at the helm and Tom Dowd playing engineer for the sessions, Franklin laid down material which helped her score three top-10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” which hit #8, “Chain of Fools,” which hit #2, and “Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet, Sweet Baby),” which hit #5. Even more impressively, the latter two songs topped the R&B Singles chart.
Elsewhere on the album, Franklin turned up renditions of songs by James Brown (“Money Won’t Change You”), Curtis Mayfield (“People Get Ready”), and The Rascals (“Groovin’”), among others, thereby continuing to prove her remarkable skill at interpreting the work of other artists and making the songs distinctively her own.
As noted, LADY SOUL went on to top the R&B Albums chart, but it also hit #2 on the Billboard 200 as well as #3 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. Now that’s a cross-genre success!
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