538’s significant digits email reports on the death of Aretha Franklin.
20 No. 1 R&B hits
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul and widely regarded as the greatest postwar pop singer, died yesterday at age 76. Her talent and career generated any number of significant digits: 100 Billboard-charting singles, 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 17 Top 10 pop singles, 18 Grammys, three presidential inauguration concerts, and the best-selling gospel record of all time. Rest in peace. [The New York Times]
Back in the day I was a member of a rock-n-roll band playing gigs in the upper midwest. Our repertoire (never used that word!) consisted of pop hits song by white males. Elvis? sure. Roy Orbison? Never in doubt. Everly Brothers? Double down.
But toward the end of our band’s existence, I tried to get us to diversify (although none of us would have called it that). I heard Aretha Franklin’s version of the old song “You are My Sunshine.” I was blown away. We tried to do that on stage a couple of times, but it did not click. Why? Think of a gaggle of 19-year old white guys singing this song!
But here, as my personal tribute is a tape of her doing that song. Listen to Aretha singing You are my sunshine.