Song Of The Day 10/13/2015: Aretha Franklin – “Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)”

You Pick the Artist IV – John Manini gave me Aretha Franklin because he correctly evaluated that the submissions for this week were turning into a “sausage fest.” Which was a shrewd move, but now I find myself in the position of finding something new to say about Aretha Franklin. That’s gonna be a laugh. She’s the greatest female singer in the history of rock or R&B music. Remember the Grammys a couple of years ago when Beyoncé did a production number with Tina Turner in which she called Tina “the Queen” and Aretha got all pissed? I was with Aretha on that one. I realize we’re just talking about informal nicknames bestowed upon musicians by over-eager fans, but despite my high affection for Beyoncé, she really should have fact-checked. If ever a production number needed to be fact-checked, it was that one. Aretha’s been the Queen of Soul since 1968. As much as I love Tina, and as willing I am to give her an honorific that puts her in Aretha’s court, probably as an advisor or military consultant, Aretha’s got the queendom locked up. It’s a benevolent dictatorship, if that makes the arrangement easier to swallow.

I probably should be picking something from Aretha’s classic years, immediately after she freed herself from the pop mold at Columbia and started working with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on Atlantic. But I’m going with “Until You Come Back to Me,” one of her biggest successes on the pop charts that hit #3 in 1974. Mainly I like the chord progression in the verses, which isn’t a surprise since Stevie Wonder composed them. His original version paired one of his more tentative vocals with a drum part that seemed a little drunk. Aretha and Jerry Wexler fixed all that in their version.

Thanks, John!

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