Aretha Franklin | Aretha Franklin | 15278
SF Gate interview Aretha Franklin.
Franklin began touring as a piano-playing gospel singer when she was 15 with her famous father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. While performing in concert with him at the now dormant Oakland Auditorium Arena, in either 1957 or early ’58, she recorded her second-ever single, the two-part “Precious Lord,” originally released on the JVB label in Detroit before being picked up for national distribution by Chess Records in Chicago.
“The people got very emotional on the stage and stepped on my dad’s hat,” she says. “I absolutely remember that.”
That recording reflected the influences of gospel-singing star Clara Ward and pianist James Cleveland, who had served as choir director at her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit in the mid-’50s.
“Clara Ward was an influence, yes,” Franklin says. “She was one of my mentors. My father was the other.”