“She don’t remember the Queen of Soul”. : Aretha Franklin’s Rock Covers

It came up that earlier this week was the three year anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s death with numerous Internet music websites marking the occasion. One of them was UCR (Ultimate Classic Rock) who I want to thank for this one. . .

Aretha Franklin sang everything great. Her roots were in gospel. Her early Columbia records had her sings jazz and songs from the Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Cole Porter, etc.). Her classic Atlantic recordings cemented her place as the Queen of Soul. She even once kicked ass singing opera as a last minute replacement for Pavorati on the Grammys. Aretha Franklin had broad musical tastes and throughout her long career recorded more than her share of rock songs, many of which are classic versions in and of themselves.

From Franklin’s second album for Atlantic Records with Muscle Shoals’ Swampers for backup and a horn section led by King Curtis.


The Young Rascals’ song has blue-eyed soul meet the Queen of Soul. Backed up once again by the Muscle Shoals studio musicians known as the Swampers with backup vocals from Cissy Houston and sister Carolyn Franklin.


Franklin takes the Beatles to church with gospel choir backup vocals and a sax solo. This was also the first version of the song to be released commercially, as the Beatles’ single did not come out until two months after Franklin’s.

Let It Be

Featuring Duane Allman on National Steel guitar and King Curtis leading the horn section. I find it interesting that Franklin’s version puts a more R&B spin on the Band classic rather than the more gospel tinged version The Band later did with The Staple Singers on The Last Waltz. In the end it doesn’t matter what I think, it’s still f**king amazing.

The Weight

From Franklin’s epic record Live At The Fillmore West, one of the greatest live records of all time. If you haven’t heard it, then do so ASAP. You’re welcome.

Love the One You’re With (Live at Fillmore West, San Francisco, February 5, 1971)

Aretha Franklin debuted her gospel hymn-like treatment of the Simon & Garfunkel tune at the 1971 Grammy Awards where the original Simon & Garfunkel version won Record and Song of the Year. Franklin’s single went gold and won its own Grammy in 1972, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

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Posted in Classic Rock, Music Appreciation and Analysis

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