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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Aretha Franklin

Without doubt Aretha Franklin has altered the course of popular music. A string of hits such as Respect, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman and Chain Of Fools made her the undisputed Queen of Soul in the Sixties. So I looked forward to meet her when I went to Los Angeles in 1976 to attend the Grammy Awards Gala. Aretha was to present the Rhythm and Blues Grammy, the category in which Sylvester and I were among the nominated artists. I remember sitting right behind Stevie Wonder and Aretha. When the R&B category came up, she went on stage. There she opened the envelope and smilingly read our names. We could hardly believe to have won. As soon as Sylvester and I rose to head for the stage, Aretha's face petrified. She was shocked at seeing two white guys from Europe approaching her to take away the one Grammy traditionally reserved for blacks. Giving us the trophy, she addressed me. To be exact, she hissed two short words. Too stunned to answer, I kept smiling. After all I was receiving the R&B Grammy from the hands of the Queen of Soul.

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