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Aretha Franklin: Greatest Hits (1980-1994)

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Album Review

This compilation collects the Queen of Soul's biggest hits from 1980-1994, after she left her legendary tenure with Atlantic and moved on to Arista. The material collected here is not quite as essential as her Atlantic recordings — instead, the focus seems to weigh heavily toward middle-of-the-road, adult contemporary soul pop, which continued to translate into chart success, albeit a little more sporadic. This album includes her '80s smashes "Freeway of Love," "Jump to It," "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Another Night," and "Jimmy Lee," as well as her chart-topping 1987 duet with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," and her adult contemporary hit duet with Michael McDonald, "Everchanging Times." Also included is the soulful "Doctor's Orders" with ace crooner Luther Vandross, and "United Together," the greatest song Whitney Houston never recorded. This collection is not free of annoying omissions, among those are her essential duet with Eurythmics, "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves"; her hit duet with Elton John, "Through the Storm"; and her hit remake of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash." That song, however, is included as a bonus track on select pressings of the album. A few new tracks are thrown in, including the Babyface-penned, assembly-line ballad "Willing to Forgive," which became her first American Top 40 hit in five years, and her version of the Clivelles and Cole club anthem "A Deeper Love," which went on to top the dance charts. The album closes with two live tracks, one being "You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)" with Bonnie Raitt and Gloria Estefan, and the fantastically soulful "I Dreamed a Dream." Not a bad collection by any means, but some of the material is a little spotty, and it could have been quite better had they included all the hits. ~ Jose F. Promis, Rovi


Born: 25 March 1942 in Memphis, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records -- "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others -- earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since. Yet as much of an international institution...
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