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Aretha Franklin’s ‘ARETHA’ Career-Spanning Boxed Set Covers Nearly 60 Years

Aretha Franklin - ARETHA 4CD

4-CD And Digital Collection Dedicated To The Queen Of Soul Features 81 Tracks, Including 19 Previously Unreleased Alternate Versions, Demos, Rarities, And Special Live Performances

2-LP And Single CD Versions Feature Highlights From The Boxed Set; All Formats Will Be Available On July 30, 2021 From Rhino

Previously Unreleased 1966 Home Demo Of “My Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)” Available Today


To say that Aretha Franklin was one of the greatest American artists of all time is an understatement. Her multi-octave voice moved millions around the world during an unrivaled career that spanned six decades and garnered the singer-songwriter every achievement and honor imaginable. Her reign as the Queen of Soul will play out across four discs on a new boxed set from Rhino that is the first to span her entire career, including songs from every label she recorded with.

ARETHA arrives on July 30, 2021 on CD ($59.98) and digitally. Among the collection’s 81 newly remastered tracks, 19 are making their CD and digital debuts, including alternate versions of classic hits, demos, rarities, and live tracks, like her stunning performance of “(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman” at The 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. To put Franklin’s life and career into perspective, the collection is accompanied by liner notes written by Rochelle Riley, author and director of arts and culture for the City of Detroit, and David Nathan, a music journalist and soul historian who interviewed Franklin more times than any other living writer. The collection also features stunning artwork by celebrated artist Makeba KEEBS Rainey, who provides her signature style to a photo of the Queen Of Soul taken by the legendary photographer, Neal Preston. Rhino’s new boxed set will arrive shortly before the premiere of Respect, the highly anticipated biopic about Franklin’s life starring Jennifer Hudson. Both single CD ($15.98) and 2-LP ($31.98) versions featuring 20 highlight tracks from the box will also be available on the same day.

Pre-order Now: 4CD | 2LP | 1CD

Arranged in mostly chronological order, ARETHA opens with “Never Grow Old” and “You Grow Closer,” which were released as her first single in 1956 by J.V.B Records. Notably, she recorded these gospel songs at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was the longtime pastor.

The next 10 songs focus on the period between 1960 and 1966 when Franklin was signed to Columbia Records. The music includes her first single with the label (“Today I Sing The Blues”), her first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (“Won’t Be Long”), plus the Top 40 R&B hits “Runnin’ Out Of Fools,” “One Step Ahead” and “Cry Like A Baby.”

The majority of ARETHA is dedicated to her record-shattering tenure with Atlantic Records between 1967 and 1979, which included five consecutive #1 R&B albums. In fact, the first two unreleased songs on the collection – “My Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)” and “Try A Little Tenderness” – are home demos that she recorded in 1966 to give Atlantic executive and producer Jerry Wexler an idea of possible material for her debut LP for label. “My Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)” finds Franklin replacing the classic “Chicago” lyric from the Sinatra version of the song with a callout to her hometown of Detroit. The track is available today digitally. Click HERE to listen now.

Franklin’s biggest hits are here too, like “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You),” “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” and her signature smash, “Respect.” But instead of using familiar takes for other hits, the collection selects different versions, like alternate takes of “Chain Of Fools,” “Rock Steady,” and “Spanish Harlem”; live recordings of “Baby I Love You” and “Don’t Play That Song”; and “Think” recorded for The Blues Brothers soundtrack.

Her early 70s collaboration with producer Quincy Jones is revisited with a trio of unreleased recordings including the Franklin original “The Boy From Bombay” and a stunning alternate version of her take on the Sondheim and Bernstein classic “Somewhere.”

ARETHA also shines a spotlight on her best work with Arista Records between 1980 and 2007. Standouts from this era include hits like “Jump To It” and “Freeway Of Love.” This period also featured a number of memorable collaborations including “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” with Eurythmics and the #1 hit “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with George Michael.

Even for longtime fans, ARETHA delivers plenty of surprises. Prime examples are the numerous unreleased work tapes and demos for hits like “Angel,” “Until You Come Back To Me” and “Brand New Me.” The set also features the CD and digital debuts of several television appearances, including duets with Tom Jones (“It’s Not Unusual/See Saw”), Smokey Robinson (“Ooo Baby Baby”) and Dionne Warwick (“I Say A Little Prayer.”) Finally, the collection rounds up rarities like her cover of Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” from the Malcom X soundtrack and her jaw-dropping live performance of “Nessun Dorma.”


Track Listing

Disc One

  1. “Never Grow Old”
  2. “You Grow Closer”
  3. “Today I Sing The Blues”
  4. “Won’t Be Long”
  5. “Are You Sure”
  6. “Operation Heartbreak”
  7. “Skylark”
  8. “Runnin’ Out Of Fools”
  9. “One Step Ahead”
  10. “(No, No) I’m Losing You”
  11. “Cry Like A Baby”
  12. “A Little Bit Of Soul”
  13. “My Kind Of Town (Detroit Is)” – Demo *
  14. “Try A Little Tenderness” – Demo *
  15. “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”
  16. “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man”
  17. “Respect”
  18. “A Change Is Gonna Come”
  19. “Chain Of Fools” – Alternate Version
  20. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” – UK Single Version
  21. “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone”
  22. “Ain’t No Way”
  23. “My Song”
  24. “You Send Me”
  25. “The House That Jack Built”
  26. “Tracks Of My Tears”

Disc Two

  1. “Baby I Love You” – Live
  2. “Son Of A Preacher Man”
  3. “Call Me” – Alternate Version *
  4. “Let It Be”
  5. “Young, Gifted And Black” – Alternate Longer Take *
  6. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Long Version
  7. “It’s Not Unusual/See Saw” – with Tom Jones * (Originally Broadcast On This Is Tom Jones, October, 9, 1970)
  8. “You’re All I Need To Get By” – Work Tape *
  9. “Brand New Me” – Work Tape *
  10. “Spanish Harlem” – Alternate Mix *
  11. “Rock Steady” – Alternate Mix/Take
  12. “Day Dreaming”
  13. “Share Your Love With Me” – Live
  14. “Don’t Play That Song” – Live
  15. “Dr. Feelgood” – Live
  16. “Spirit In The Dark” (Reprise with Ray Charles) – Live
  17. “How I Got Over” (Single Edit) – Live
  18. “Master Of Eyes (The Deepness Of Your Eyes)”

Disc Three

  1. “Somewhere” – Alternate Version *
  2. “Angel” – Work Tape *
  3. “The Boy From Bombay” *
  4. “Til It’s Over” – Demo *
  5. “Oh Baby” (a.k.a. “There’s Something Magic About You”) – Demo *
  6. “Until You Come Back To Me” – Work Tape *
  7. “I’m In Love” – Alternate Vocal
  8. “Without Love”
  9. “Mr. D.J. (5 For The D.J.)”
  10. “You”
  11. “Something He Can Feel”
  12. “Look Into Your Heart”
  13. “Break It To Me Gently”
  14. “When I Think About You”
  15. “Almighty Fire (Woman Of The Future)”
  16. “Ladies Only” – Short Version
  17. “You Light Up My Life” *
  18. “Ooo Baby Baby” – with Smokey Robinson * (Originally Broadcast On Soul Train, December 1, 1979)
  19. “Amazing Grace” (Originally Broadcast On Royal Variety Performance, November 23, 1980)

Disc Four

  1. “Think”
  2. “I Say A Little Prayer” – with Dionne Warwick *
  3. “United Together”
  4. “Jump To It”
  5. “The Wind”
  6. “Freeway Of Love”
  7. “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” – Eurythmics & Aretha Franklin
  8. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – Aretha Franklin and George Michael
  9. “Oh Happy Day” – with Mavis Staples (Live at New Bethel Baptist Church, Detroit, MI – July 1987)
  10. “A Rose Is Still A Rose”
  11. “Someday We’ll All Be Free”
  12. “The Makings Of You”
  13. “Nessun Dorma” – Live
  14. “At Last” – with Lou Rawls * (Originally Broadcast On American Soundtrack: Rhythm, Love And Soul, March 2003)
  15. “You’ve Got A Friend” – Ronald Isley featuring Aretha Franklin
  16. “Rolling In The Deep” – The Aretha Version
  17. “My Country ’Tis Of Thee”
  18. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Live * (Originally Broadcast On The 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, December 19. 2015)


Aretha Franklin - ARETHA 2LP

2-LP Track Listing (Also Available As Single CD)

Side One

  1. “Never Grow Old”
  2.  “Today I Sing The Blues”
  3.  “One Step Ahead”
  4.  “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”
  5. “A Change Is Gonna Come”

Side Two

  •  “Respect”
  • “Chain Of Fools” – Alternate Version
  • “Call Me” – Alternate Version *
  • “Rock Steady” – Alternate Mix/Take
  • “How I Got Over” (Single Edit) – Live

Side Three

  1. “Master Of Eyes (The Deepness Of Your Eyes)”
  2. “Until You Come Back To Me” – Work Tape *
  3. “Something He Can Feel”
  4. “You Light Up My Life” *
  5. “Think”

Side Four

  1. “Freeway Of Love”
  2.  “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – Aretha Franklin and George Michael
  3. “Someday We’ll All Be Free”
  4. “A Rose Is Still A Rose”
  5. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Live* (Originally Broadcast On The 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors 12/19/15)

*Previously Unreleased Audio

Aretha Franklin - ARETHA 1CD

Dr. Daphne Brooks Essay, Anatomy of Soul: Aretha Franklin’s Revolutionary Body of Work, Explores The History of the First Female Inductee to the Hall of Fame

“The first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the artist ranked as the #1 “Greatest Singer of the Rock Era” by Rolling Stone magazine, and one of the most-awarded female singers in GRAMMY history, Aretha Franklin earned her legendary status in American culture as a result of her virtuosic vocals that radicalized the aesthetics of pop musicianship.” – Dr .Daphne Brooks

To read the full essay, click here.

A Section of Lodge Freeway Memorializes Aretha Franklin


“Aretha Franklin’s legacy is being memorialized with a portion of the Lodge Freeway dedicated to the late singer. The stretch of M-10 from Livernois to Interstate 94 was revealed as the Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway on Monday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and other state and city leaders.” – The Detroit News

To read more click here.

Aretha Franklin Among Women of the Century for Entertainment


“The “Queen of Soul” was a largely self-taught and gifted pianist and singer, recording many of her earliest tracks at her father’s Detroit church at age 14. Aretha Franklin eventually moved to New York, where she produced many hits, including “Respect” and “Freeway of Love.” She won 18 Grammys and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was also the first female performer inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.” – USA Today

To read more click here:

Aretha Franklin’s ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’ Turns 35

For Who’s Zoomin’ Who?‘s 35th anniversary, find out how GRAMMY-winning producer Narada Michael Walden teamed up with the Queen of Soul to create a sound that would come to define R&B in the mid-’80s.


Listen to the album:

“You will remember my name…” Aretha’s classic ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’ hit record stores on this day in 1985! What’s your favorite track?

Posted by Aretha Franklin on Thursday, July 9, 2020

Never-Before-Heard Solo Version Of ‘Never Gonna Break My Faith’ By Aretha Franklin Available Today

Aretha Franklin - Never Gonna Break My Faith

RCA Records, RCA Inspiration, And Legacy Recordings Collaborate To Release Never-Before-Heard Solo Version Of “Never Gonna Break My Faith” By The Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin



Today, RCA Records, RCA Inspiration and Legacy Recordings collaborate to release a never-before-heard solo version of “Never Gonna Break My Faith” by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, featuring The Boys Choir of Harlem. Co-written by award-winning singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, the Grammy Award winning song was originally released as a duet with Mary J. Blige for the 2006 film Bobby. Over a decade later, the song’s lyrics are as urgent and poignant as ever. Click here to listen. See lyrics below.

Clive Davis, Sony Music’s Chief Creative Officer and longtime friend/producer of Ms. Franklin states, “The world is very different now. Change is everywhere and each of us, hopefully, is doing the best he or she can to move forward and make change as positive as possible. Music can play a major role here and Aretha’s performance is chilling. When you read the song’s lyric, and its relevance to what is happening today, it will shake every fiber in your body. Everyone should hear this record. It deserves to be an anthem.”

“When I wrote this song, I was channeling Aretha, never thinking that she’d ever actually sing the song,” says Adams. “The thought was to write a hymn, something that would try and articulate the feeling of faith, and that even though you might have lost something, there would always be an inner light to guide you. When the song was demo’d, I told the producers that Aretha would be the one to sing this – and sing it she did. This solo version has been sitting on my computer for years, and when I heard Clive was making a film on Aretha’s life, I sent this version to him. The world hasn’t heard her full performance and it really needed to be heard. I’m so glad it’s being released, the world needs this right now.”

Buy/stream “Never Gonna Break My Faith”


My Lord, I have read this book so many times,
But nowhere can there I find – the page – that says
What I experienced today has any grace
Now I know that life was meant to be hard
And that’s how I’ve learned to appreciate my God
Though my courage may be tried, I can tell you I won’t hide
Because the footprints show you are by my side

You can lie to a child with a smiling face
Tell me that color ain’t about a race
You can cast the first stone, you can break my bones
But you’re never gonna break
You’re never gonna break my…
Faith and hope ain’t yours to give
Truth and liberty are mine to live
Steal a crown from a king, break an angel’s wings
But you’re never gonna break, never gonna break my faith

My Lord, won’t you help them to understand
That when someone takes the life of an innocent man
Well they’ve never really won, and all they’ve really done
Is set the soul free – where it’s supposed to be

You can lie to a child with a smiling face
Tell me that color ain’t about a race
You can cast the first stone, you can break my bones
But you’re never gonna break
You’re never gonna break my…
Faith and hope ain’t yours to give
Truth and liberty are mine to live
Steal a crown from a king, break an angel’s wings
But you’re never gonna break, never gonna break my faith

For those we lose before their time
I pray that their souls will find the light
And I know that the day will surely come when His will will be done
You’re never gonna break my faith

About Aretha Franklin

She is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name: Aretha. The undisputed “Queen Of Soul” has created an amazing legacy that spans an incredible six decades, from her first recording as a teenage gospel star, to her last studio album, ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS (RCA Records).

Her many countless classics include “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain Of Fools,” “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)”; her own compositions “Think,” “Daydreaming” and “Call Me”; her definitive versions of “Respect,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Rolling In The Deep”; and global hits like “Freeway Of Love,” “Jump To It,” “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”- her worldwide chart-topping duet with George Michael, and “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

The recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal Of Freedom, eighteen GRAMMY Awards, a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement and GRAMMY Living Legend awardee, Aretha Franklin’s powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her Rolling Stone magazine’s No. 1 placing on the list of “The Greatest Singers Of All Time.” One of the best-selling female artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide, Ms. Franklin’s incomparable voice and remarkable career have left an indelible mark on the lives of many and will never be forgotten.