Nothing brings people together like good music. It’s an effective mood adjuster that transcends cultures, backgrounds and often, age. The summer isn’t quite over and I’m more than certain many people still have some barbecues to put together before Autumn arrives, specifically on Labor Day. And one simply cannot have food and games without a bangin’ playlist. It goes against all the rules.
A little over a week ago, we lost the voice that inspired women around the world–the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. I grew up listening to her on my mother’s record player and radio. Thinking back to when I was younger, I didn’t fully comprehend much of the meaning behind the lyrics of her music. I just knew it was something I could move and sing along to. Her dynamic voice to words made me feel good–still does.
If you have social media accounts, I can imagine that on the day of her passing, your pages were full of entertainment lovers recalling their favorite Aretha Franklin songs. They were also most likely posting links to music videos and performances that affected them in one way or another. Some of the funny comments I read were people expressing their strong opinions of who would or would not be allowed to offer a musical tribute to any song previously sung by the Queen. I must say I do agree. There aren’t too many that can deliver the range, intensity, and control she possessed.
Her songs had meaning and a message. I think that’s one of the things that is missing from much of today’s music. Ms. Franklin had the voice that brought words to life. It was powerful. It had Soul. Although other artists were the original singers of some of the music she released, you sort of forget that once you hear her versions.
As I did when other greats transitioned from this world such as Micheal, Prince, and Whitney, I dedicated a few days to listen to Ms. Aretha. I don’t play her music very often, so it was if I was hearing many of the tunes for the first time. I even found a few that I actually hadn’t heard before.
Through operation “Honor Aretha,” I discovered that there are some upbeat tunes I need to add to my entertainment playlist. These songs are fire. I dare you to take a listen and try sitting still.
Save Me (1967)
This one was new to me. Aside from her powerful, mezzo-soprano vocals, the tenor saxophone parts give me life. Play this song and expect to see everyone moving. It has an incredibly catchy beat.
What A Fool Believes (1980)
Originally released in 1978 by the Doobie Brothers, this is my all-time favorite. It was already awesome and then Ms. Franklin put her spin on it. “What a Fool Believes” is a feel-good song–you can’t leave it out.
Last weekend I was trying to convince a high school sophomore that she actually did know this song. Unbelievable! Can you imagine anyone NOT knowing this anthem? Anyways, If you’re reading this, 9 times out of 10 you have heard R-E-S-P-E-C-T and know the value it would bring to your playlist. It’s also a wonderful karaoke choice.
Rock Steady (1971)
Written by the Queen herself, the grooviness of this track will have you rocking it out while flipping burgers on the grill. If your Labor Day party involves a Soul Train line, this would definitely be the song to get things started.
Freeway of Love (1985)
This song was released later in her career and was a tune I jammed out to when I was a child. I especially loved listening to it while cruising in the back seat of my mother’s car. It just seemed fitting. The catchy rhythm of “Freeway of Love” will get people moving without much coaxing.
If you want to add a little excitement to your party or barbecue, try adding these songs. I’m sure your guests will love them.
All the best, always.
Which songs by Aretha Franklin would you choose to spice up your party?