I’ve been so focused on Fiona Apple and her return to New York City that I won’t be there for, I almost forgot what has got to be the milestone of the week: Aretha Franklin turned 70 on Sunday, March 25. It makes me feel incredibly old that so many icons whom I can remember being younger than I am now, are now turning 70. Coming soon (April 24, to be exact): Barbra Streisand.
I met Franklin exactly once, in the early ’90s at one of Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy parties in New York City. She didn’t say much, but she was gracious and kind, slowly and deliberately moving forward as if her final destination was a throne in the center of the room. She was every bit as regal as the Queen of Soul should be.
I’ve written about her numerous times over the years, so I’ll skip my Top 5 Aretha songs, leave it at “Happy birthday,” and this, one of my favorite Aretha Franklin performances on YouTube, a ’70s appearance on Soul Train (R.I.P., Don Cornelius). She’s so likable here, and I love her reaction when Cornelius calls her “probably the most gifted singer that ever lived.” Were it not for her typically awesome vocal, it would still be a classic for that bright, revealing orange outfit that I couldn’t imagine anyone else even trying to pull off while singing a song called “Jump.”