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In Loving Memory: Aretha Franklin & George Michael

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Her voice coloured my childhood and adolescence, and for a little girl growing up in Zambia, Aretha Franklin was the definition of a songstress, a diva and a musical icon.

I was introduced to Aretha Franklin via a music show in the 80’s called The Beam and, this song.

It was this duet with George Michael that is my first memory of her and her monster voice. The raspiness, the swag, the soul, the depth and the height of it caught my adolescent attention instantly and I knew this was what greatness sounded like.
The Beam would go onto introduce me to a number of other songs by the Queen of Soul, including Jumpin’ Jack Flash which is another one of my favourite Aretha collaborations.

Her version of A Natural Woman gives me goose bumps and easily brings me to tears.

 Despite growing up exposed to a lot of American music I didn’t realize just how much of an ICON Ms Franklin was. There was no google to do a quick search about her and it is only now that I’m learning about her childhood, her rise to iconic stature and her influence as a musician both in the industry and the community.  This article from the New Yorker is a great read and insight into her amazing life.  This article from The Atlantic is another good read.
It was that same song (I Knew You Were Waiting) that introduced me to George Michael. Way before I would realize and notice that he was part of Wham and that Careless Whisper would become the go to first dance song at every wedding I’d attend in the 90s. His shoulder length hair caught my attention too-I had crush on him and Andre Agassi. Those were the kind of white guys I imagined I’d date *hides face*
George passed away during my vacation in South Africa and I didn’t allow myself the time to process his death properly. I was in denial for a long time.
Ms Franklin’s death brought back thoughts of him, hence why I’ve included him in this post. His songs Praying for Time, Jesus to a child and You Have Been Loved are the right balance of somber and beauty and are fitting for the mood I’m in right now.
May their music live on in our hearts, minds, voices and passed on to future generations.
I’m sure Ms Franklin’s entering heaven belting out “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me”.  And George is right there waiting to receive her.

1 Comment

  • Both gone way too soon but thank goodness their music lives on.. absolute legends

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