I say a little prayer

 

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One of the best singles of all time.

Is "I Say a Little Prayer" the best of the Bacharach-David classics?

The biggest little prayer ever said.

Aretha was amazing.

well, she was a very good singer among hundreds of other very good, famous singers in past 75 years. But this over-the-top Aretha-adoration is more indicative of standard/dumb 'celebrity-worship' + politically-correct promotion of minorities (blacks/women). Aretha was the #1 "news" story yesterday on most major radio/TV outlets; even Rush Limbaugh opened his program with Aretha-adoration. Celebrities should never qualify as as legitimate "news" in journalism. In a world of 6 Billion people, consider the vast amount of real news that was totally ignored in favor of this dumb, syrupy, repetitive Aretha-adoration.
The passing of any showbiz celebrity is not important -- it's normal routine for humans.

Let's say she didn't die. In that alternative universe what cutting edge newsstory did you see in place of the Aretha adoration pieces? What magical insights did Rush have in that world rather than playing a tribute to her? If we could build a Rick's interdimensional cablebox and let you view for the day what would you return to report to us that we don't already know?

'But this over-the-top Aretha-adoration is more indicative of standard/dumb 'celebrity-worship''

In which case, you are going to enjoy this 20 year old Graham Parker song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myLrFPOTapk

Ratings kid.

Mr. Limbaugh and his producer(s) don't care about celebrity-worship or political correctness, they care about keeping the audience listening.

That plus it takes work to fill air time up.

I don't think that's true.

Counterpoint: it's important to have these types of human-interest stories that bring people together and enhance shared civic/cultural capital. The fact that "even Rush Limbaugh" opened his program with Aretha-adoration shows the benefit. The likely replacement for Aretha-love would likely be more of the type of breathless, valueless ephemeral politics coverage whose consumption makes people miserable.

+1. MotownEast sounds like one of those prigs who wonders why people bother with all that useless music and literature and movie stuff when they need to spend every minute of their lives focused on what really matters like politics and economics.

well the reason I have found so much happiness in life is that I can triangulate (as the navigators on the KC-135s say) or I can "put myself in the place of others" .... Aretha was an astoundingly beautiful woman with a voice that was perfectly made for the kinds of songs she sang. I have loved women as beautiful as her, and been loved back, and I have heard some of the most beautiful music imaginable (Hilary Hahn, Anna Netrebko, on the female side, and a good friend of the best composer of the 20th century - he did not know I was listening, but I was, as he practiced his piano in the garden room - and a tenor who had, back in the 80s, made Pavarotti jealous of his tone and his sound - in a little opera hall in DC, of all places!, on the male side)...and I can say, all of us, every once in a while, can do something nobody else can do, and make someone else very happy doing that. In my humble opinion, that is why Aretha Franklin, God bless her heart, is thought of so kindly ..... because everyone understands that there are people who were touched by her gift. Of course everyone has their own potential gift, no matter what their faults are, that is another story, and a good one, as they used to say back in the day...

Let me say this another way. Having more or less memorized Proverbs 8, and having realized that our purpose in life is to care and understand and be respectful (cor ad cor loquitur), I can say that the greatest disappointment in life, for many of us, is to fail to appreciate the gifts our friends have been given.

"I say a little prayer for you": well played.

Appreciate this post.

Disappointing - I'd remembered her as being better than that.

Motown, Aretha Franklin in particular, did more to integrate the races than Brown v. Bd. of Ed. Sure, I exaggerate but only a little, for Franklin, the Four Tops, The Supremes, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, et al. integrated popular music in the 1960s. I came of age in the 1960s and the Motown sound was my favorite. I had all the 8-track tapes (yes, 8-track). Later, when I was married to a Southern girl, it all came back when we would dance the Carolina Shag to what is called "beach music" (the rhythm worked for the Shag).

Aretha showed how it's done. The idol contest show kids and the like need to stop parroting each other's diva styles and isten to Aretha and get a sense that there's a much higher level of doing things.

But there's no way those kids can replicate what she did. She was impossible to top. Her voice was so good and so powerful it was actually a little terrifying as Billy Preston once said.

She was on a Divas show one time, with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and some others. All were singing some song and it got competitive at one point. Aretha hit both higher and lower than any of the rest could, and with more power. Awesome sight to see, especially at her age.

This is where MR needs a 'like' button

Saw that, was amazing how she just dominated in a way obvious to all. The irony was that only Celine (who I don't like) really tried to keep up, played along, made me respect her somewhat.

zztop,

It is not a matter of Idol people should imitate her. They already are. The reason Aretha was underappreciated in later years of her life. A major reason for that is sort of why a lot of younger economists do not understand how important Paul Samuelson was (for better or worse). Both of them essentially became the standard that the vast majority followed and then followed each other, to the point that it came to pass that many forgot (or never knew) where it all came from. The innovater became part of the background or wallpaper or whatever that people simply take for granted. So people can tell Idol people to imitate Aretha when in fact that is already what they are doing, mostly without even realizing it.

So what was Aretha's great innovation? Melisma, which came out of her gospel background/roots. She is probably the first person in "western" music to turn one syllable of a word into 8 notes. The ultimate of this, and the song I played when I learned she had died, is "Amazing Grace," not one of her hit singles, but the title cut from heer 1972 gospel-soul album of the same name. In WaPo today Chris Richards said of that song that "it deserves to be compared to everything that Michelangelo ever painted." I think that is overdoing it, but it is her ultimate song, and the melisma in it is far beyond anything her sorry imitators could ever pull off.

Nodding at Tyler's self musical history, the only musical tradition I am aware of, outside perhaps of Africa, that matches what Aretha does is "Amazing Grace" might be what one finds in southern Indian Carnatic singing.

Considering it more, Tyler might in fact be inclined to go further than Chris Richards and declare not only that Aretha's best work should be "compared to everything Michelangelo ever painted," but might declare that her work is superior to Michelangelo's. After all, in his music ed thread he allows only cinema to possibly match the greatest music culturally, which includes classic rock. So, classic rock, presumably including Aretha, beats Michelangelo and not just his paintings but probably his third rate sculptures too! (And, heck, the Sistine Chapel and the sites of his most famous sculptures are overrun with tourists anyway... )

Came to America when I was 10 and got into Oldies. K-Earth 101 was great. Loved this song on the radio. I even liked the My Best Friend's Wedding version---in fact, that movie is what pops into my head when I hear the song.

Yes, that was a really dumb artificial movie and that scene was a dumb artificial scene -- but also irresistible. The video equivalent of an earworm, an eyeworm I guess.

K-Earth 101's a nice oldies station, the real gem in LA was the too-short lived Indie 103.1, which played a greater breadth AND depth of rock and pop music than any commercial station that I've ever heard. New cutting edge stuff, oldies, obscure recordings by the Beatles, you name it, they played it. They even played a punk version of one of The Ramones' songs, ironic given that The Ramones are generally regarded as one of the creators of punk in the first place (I think they're better thought of not as a punk group but instead as a unique garage rock band). I don't remember if they ever played Aretha Franklin but it's an almost sure bet that they did.

Indie 103.1 left us at least one legacy: Jonesey's Jukebox, Steve Jones' music-and-talk-and-interview show.

Oops, this was meant to be a response to Brian B. Kim's comment, above.

Freeway of Love always picks up my mood. Probably my favorite of hers.

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