Aretha Franklin, 2014 | Paras Griffin/Getty/Rolling Stone | 14559
Rolling Stone have been talking to Aretha Franklin about her long and illustrious career, and other matters.
Franklin had been a star in the gospel world for years before signing to Columbia. At 12, she joined her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin – whose sermons sold millions of copies on Chess Records – on the road. “His delivery was very dynamic,” she says. “If he had chosen to be a singer, he would’ve been a great one.” Her favorite sermon of his was “A Wild Man Meets Jesus,” about a man who goes insane, abandons his family and winds up living in a graveyard. Jesus sails through a rainstorm to meet him and exorcises him of demons, to the dismay of townspeople who prefer the man as the village idiot. “The man walks into someone he immediately knows is superior and supreme to him, without any words,” says Franklin. “That’s what I love about that. It underscores a supreme being.”
Franklin was no stranger to big personalities growing up – her parents’ parties included Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington and Sam Cooke. “I had a teenage crush on him,” Franklin says of Cooke. “Very classy, very classy. He came from the church, so it would be hard not to have class.”