NPR

Aretha Franklin: Just Her And A Piano

A small, sterling selection of the best stripped-down performances the Queen of Soul delivered in her later years.
Aretha Franklin, onstage at The Metropolitan Opera House on September 18, 2011. Source: Jemal Countess

Aretha Franklin may have had her heyday in the 1960s, but in the last years of her career she created some musical masterpieces in the unlikeliest of ways. Instead of singing songs with musicians and singers backing her up, she would accompany herself on piano, singing with all the heart, and all the voice, she possessed. It wasn't the sock-it-to-me Aretha — it was the tender, the moving,. Sometimes musicians would join in, but her fine keyboard work was the central instrumental element. And really, it was all she needed to make glorious music.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Ukraine's Comedian President Takes Office, Says He's Dissolving Parliament
"Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his inauguration speech, quoting Ronald Reagan.
NPR2 min read
For Charly Bliss, Bad Relationships And Growing Pains Commingle With Crystal Synths
Young Enough, the latest album from Charly Bliss, was born out of growing pains and toxic relationships.
NPR4 min readSociety
The Other Reasons Kids Aren't Getting Vaccinations: Poverty and Health Care Access
Religious and ideological opposition to vaccines has fueled the current measles outbreak. But there's another factor driving low vaccination rates in some communities: poverty.