Aretha Is Back
If you didn’t see CBS’ Sunday Morning, you missed seeing the Queen of Soul. Again, the girl is healthy and happy. Later in the interview, however, I saw how tiny she was compared to her interviewer. She really, really needed to lose that weight.
The Voice of the Sixties doing her thing:
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Six months after she abruptly cancelled all performances because of a mysterious illness, Aretha Franklin made her first concert appearance at a New York benefit this past week:
When asked backstage how she feels to be back, Franklin replied, “I’m excited. I’m excited. As James Brown used to say, ‘I’m ready to do my thing.'”
She is strikingly slimmer – as Mason described her, “a leaner, meaner Aretha.”
“Yes!” she laughed. “The queen of mean!”
Aretha says she’s lost 85 pounds. But she has not lost her voice:
“My health is wonderful. It is fabulous now.”
“People were worried about you,” Mason said.
“Yeah, I was worried!”
What happened? A relative reportedly said she had pancreatic cancer. Her weight loss led to stories she’d had bariatric surgery. “Well, it wasn’t that,” Aretha said. “It wasn’t that. It just wasn’t.”
What it was, Aretha isn’t saying.
But Lady Soul has a history of mystery. She’s always been guarded … except when she sings.
What was also interesting was how Anthony Mason brought out the fact that Aretha wrote songs, and co-wrote songs with her ex-husband Ted White and with her sister Carolyn, and that this aspect of her career is not necessarily celebrated as much as her singing.
She did mention how floored she was with singer Sam Cooke, who probably never knew how much of a crush she had on him, and her relationship with Dennis Edwards of The Temptations which nearly resulted in marriage. Edwards, who was also referenced (but not seen) in the piece, admitted that he should have married Aretha, but may have been too intimidated by her.
She can say that stuff in past tense, because it is safe and over, but not now. But, in love or not, I’m glad to see Aretha is still with us for some time to come.