Category: afro

Jimi Hendrix, photo and hand-coloring by Baron Wolman.

19-year old Prince Rogers Nelson (yes, with sequins glued to his chest), 1977, by Robert Whitman

Little Richard, Wembley Empire Pool 1972, by Barrie Wentzell

Candidly Jimi Hendrix

Chaka Khan, NYC 1975. One more:

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Aretha Franklin, “Rock Steady” on The Flip Wilson Show, aired January 20, 1972. 

Released as a single in February 1971, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #2 on the Soul Singles chart, this Aretha-penned track gets a blazing new life just 4 days before the release of the astounding Young, Gifted and Black LP. Not only have you never heard this song like this before, you may never have heard Aretha like this before: pedal to the metal and soaring, even by her own elevated standards. 

It’s also inspiring to see the Queen of Soul, “Natural Woman” resplendent in natural hair and an African-inspired gown in this pivotal TV appearance, as detailed in Rickey Vincent’s Party Music: The Inside Story of the Black Panthers’ Band and How Black Power Transformed Soul Music. 

Aretha herself said, “I believe that the black revolution certainly forced me and the majority of black people to begin taking a second look at ourselves. It wasn’t that we were all ashamed of our ourselves, we merely started appreciating our natural selves…you know, falling in love with ourselves just as we are. We found that we had far more to be proud of.

“I must say that mine was a very personal evolution – an evolution of the me in myself. […] I know I’ve improved my overall look and sound, they’re much better. And I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in myself.” 

(More here, although note that Vincent is off on the date of this broadcast, which I verified here. A great read nonetheless.)

This is the sound of Aretha’s newfound confidence, my friends, with one of 1971′s greatest singles taken to new heights. “Rock steady, baby – that’s what I feel now. Let’s call this song exactly what it is!” 

TURN IT UP!

superseventies:

LaBelle – Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle 

The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Royal Albert Hall, by David Redfern

Jimi Hendrix at the appropriately named Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, CA, June 20, 1970

Jimi’s smile: Jimi Hendrix, Saville Theatre, London, by Roberto Rabanne