Musician Biographies » Aretha Franklin » Down but Never Out - Taking A Break, Love Again, Spirit Of Success, Amazing Grace, Good-bye To Old Friends

Down but Never Out - A Comfortable Groove

aretha album continued “rock

The year 1972 was a good one for Aretha. Early in the year she released an album, Young, Gifted, and Black. The album included still more hits, like “Rock Steady” and a cover of Otis Redding's “I've Been Loving You Too Long.” She won Grammys for “Rock Steady” and for her gospel album Amazing Grace. She was very much in love with Ken Cunningham. At public appearances, it was obvious that Aretha had lost a lot of weight and was living a healthier lifestyle.

Aretha felt comfortable enough to be interviewed again, too. In an interview with Ebony magazine, she said, “Anybody who has kept up with my career knows that I've had my share of problems and trouble, but look at me today. I'm here, I have my health, I'm strong, I have my career and my family and plenty of friends everywhere.” It was clearly a happy time for Aretha.

During the mid ‘70s, radio listeners gradually lost interest in soul music. Their tastes moved on to funk and disco. Aretha and Jerry Wexler tried to incorporate these new sounds into her albums, but were not always successful. Though she continued to win Grammy Awards through 1974, her long winning streak finally stopped. In 1975, Natalie Cole won the Grammy for Best R & B Vocal Performance, Female. Natalie was the daughter of pop singer Nat “King” Cole, and she had grown up idolizing Aretha Franklin.

Despite slower album sales, Aretha continued to record some incredible songs. With the help of producer Curtis Mayfield, Aretha recorded an album of songs from the movie Sparkle in 1976. That album included a beautiful ballad, “Something He Can Feel,” which was revived many years later by the group En Vogue.

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