The First Recordings
Aretha's First Album
Before her sons were born, Aretha had recorded some gospel music on the Chess Records label. That first album combined material recorded at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit with recordings Aretha made on the road in her father's show. The album included “Precious Lord,” “The Day Is Past and Gone” (made famous by Clara Ward), and “Never Grow Old.”
Aretha was approached to record with a local Detroit label, Motown Records. Today, Motown is famous for an incredible lineup of stars: the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. In 1960, however, the label was not well known. Despite their admiration for Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown, Reverend Franklin and Aretha decided to hold out for an offer from a more established company. They decided to send Aretha to New York City, where most of the major music labels had headquarters.