Aretha Franklin and Dr. John, 1971, via Dr. Jo…

Aretha Franklin and Dr. John, 1971, via Dr. John’s Facebook page.

The Doctor guested on a couple of Aretha’s 1971 singles, notably playing percussion on “Rock Steady” (released in February; I wrote about that here), and playing keyboards on Aretha’s cover of “Spanish Harlem”, a July 1971 single that became the opening track of Aretha’s Greatest Hits, released that September. It

spent three weeks at #1 on the US soul charts and two weeks at #2 on the Pop chart on the way to selling over 1 million copies.

(btw, the b-side referenced here, “Lean On Me”, isn’t a cover of the song that Bill Withers hadn’t written yet, of course, but rather the 1970 Vivian Reed original, a fantastic track, one of Aretha’s most powerful performances – but no Dr. John means that I’ll save it for another day.)