Category: aretha franklin 1971

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.)

Aretha, backstage at Fillmore West, February 1971, by Jim Marshall

Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, having worked up a mighty, mighty sweat, with surprise guest Ray Charles on the song “Spirit In The Night,” March 7, 1971, photo by Jim Marshall.

Aretha’s shows on March 5-7 produced a stunning live album, Aretha Live at Fillmore West. It was released just two months later, on May 19, 1971. Highly, highly recommended.