This will be short. There are so many great tributes online today, written by people who know a lot about Aretha Franklin, or who actually knew her. I am much sadder at her passing than I expected, even given the inevitability of it after the last few days of reports. So anyway, I can’t think of much to say really. The facts; like most people of my age I have been aware of her music in some way or another (radio, films, TV; everywhere) my whole life. At some point in my late teens or early 20s I got two cheap ‘best of’ compilation tapes (‘the 60s’ – with most of her best known hits – and ‘the 70s’, which was a revelation) at which point she became, and has since remained, one of my favourite singers.
I don’t think it’s too much to say that those tapes changed the way I think about music.
Music is of course completely subjective; how much you like some singer or some piece of music has little or nothing to do with how ‘good’ it is; but be that as it may, there has never been a better singer than Aretha Franklin, and there never will be either.