All the people have spoken so eloquently about Aretha, and I can never match that. Those writers, man. Those writers who say the things that you feel.
Two of my favorite are the New York Times "appreciation" by Wesley Morris:
"Is it possible that despite the milestones and piles of Grammys (the now-defunct female R&B vocal performance category seemed invented just for her; she won the first eight), despite famously having been crowned the greatest singer of all time in a vast Rolling Stone survey, despite being Aretha Franklin, the Greatest was also rather underrated — as a piano player, as an arranger (who had a greater imagination when it came to coloring a song with backing singers), as an album artist? Despite the world’s bereavement over her death, despite her having been less a household name and more a spiritual resident of our actual home, despite giving us soundtracks for loneliness, for lovemaking, for joy, for church, cookouts and bars, despite the induction ceremonies, medals and honorary degrees, despite her having been the only Aretha most of us have ever heard of, is it possible that we’ve taken her for granted, that in failing to make her president, a saint or her own country, we still might not have paid her enough respect? Just a little bit."
Her own country? I love that.
And a comment on facebook by, well there are many . . . 29.9K to be exact, and counting . . . but here's one by a Martha Magee:
"It belonged to her the minute it was written, the minute that she sang it for the first time, the minute she recorded it. Carole King knew that and many years ago was thrilled to hear Aretha's version - which is why she was free to graciously celebrate, appreciate and honor Aretha who came to honor her, (and her President!) A holy night in Washington. Long Live the Queen."
And there're all like this. Erudite and heartfelt.
But the very best evidence of all Is The Queen of Soul herself. There will be none like her. Ever. And so we thank her. That voice. That presence. That Aretha:
Long Live the Queen.