Aretha Franklin's relationship with the music industry was a complex one. One minute, the industry was the enemy and the next she'd buy into the hit making machine with a recording that was beneath her undeniable vocal prowess. There were periods when booking her live was a crapshoot, with cancellations seemingly equal to stellar performances.None of this, however, detracted from her status as the true Queen of Soul and inarguably one the the most powerful vocalists that ever lived.
Billy Preston, whose own career is filled with contradictions and missteps, captured the complexity of what Aretha Franklin meant, particularly to fellow musicians and the music industry.
“She can be hiding out in her house in Detroit for years... She can cancel half her gigs and infuriate every producer and promoter in the country. She can sing all kinds of jive-ass songs that are beneath her. She can go into her diva act and turn off the world. But on any given night, when that lady sits down at the piano and gets her body and soul all over some righteous song, she’ll scare the s*** out of you. And you’ll know—you’ll swear—that she’s still the best f***in’ singer this f***ed-up country has ever produced.”