Today the music industry lost one of the greatest talents it has ever seen. Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76.
I was lucky enough to see The Queen of Soul perform at Jones Beach Theater in 2011. She was starting to have some health issues around that time and had canceled six months of appearances, but aside from the blue medical shoe on her left foot, the show was amazing and she sounded great. The setlist included hits like Chain of Fools, Get It Right and Natural Woman.
After a short intermission halfway through the show, Aretha returned to the stage and asked: “Did you hear about Muhammad Ali?” Immediately the crowd got silent and many people, including myself, started to grab for their phones to see if something happened to the former Champ. His health was also starting to deteriorate around this time. Miss Franklin begins telling the story of how Ali was on a flight and a flight attendant asked him to buckle his seat belt. “He told her, ‘Superman don’t need no seat belt,’” she said, giving her Ali impression. “She told him, ‘Superman didn’t need no plane neither. Buckle that seat belt!’” The crowd erupted in a mixture of laughter and sighs of relief and the night continued on. The show concluded with Freeway of Love and Respect.