Aretha Franklin died today.
I am married to the greatest singer I will ever know or even meet, and Darleen summed up Aretha Franklin by saying simply, “She was the greatest voice ever.”
Not “a great voice,” or “one of the greatest;” just the greatest.
On the news they showed her singing “Think;” not the version from The Blues Brothers, but in concert somewhere, and if you can watch that without grinning and your body moving, you might want to inquire about your local undertaker’s schedule.
And then Darleen found the YouTube video of Ms. Franklin filling in at the last moment for an ailing Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammy Awards ceremony. Think about it for a moment: filling in for Pavarotti with only a few hours to prepare, singing an aria from Puccini’s Turandot, arguably one of the most difficult of all arias, singing it in both Italian and English, in front of an auditorium of professional singers and musicians every one of whom was probably, rightly, just as sensitive to and critical of their art form as my bride is, and Ms. Franklin blew them out of their seats. If you can watch that performance and not weep, you have no soul within you.
She did it all and she did it all better than anyone else.