Aretha Franklin Did It Better: 12 Classics Transformed (and Owned) by The Queen of Soul [Playlist]

The Queen of Soul didn’t cover songs, she conquered them

Yesterday, we bid adieu to the undisputed empress of R&B. Aretha Franklin slipped out of existence surrounded by family and friends at the age of 76 with a whopping 42 studio albums under her belt and a lifetime of gassing the classic compositions of contemporaries like Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel, Bobby Womack, and The Beatles. Even “Respect,” a track synonymous with Franklin’s force, was first written and released by the late Otis Redding.

In celebration of the singular soulstress, the pound-for-pound GOAT, the daughter of Detroit with the golden voice, we’ve gathered some of Franklin’s most devastating one-ups. A collection of live and studio takes of tracks that might as well never existed before Aretha Franklin set her sights on owning them forever more. Knowing damn well she’d smoke the original. That she wasn’t merely entitled to conquest but ordained to sovereignty. Obligated to shine, to manifest and reclaim destiny.

Hear the aptly-titled Aretha Did It Better playlist below as a testament to the power and grace of the late icon. Say a little prayer for the rest of us.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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