Tag Archives: Ray Charles

Ray Charles’ “Singular Genius” Shines Through on New 5-CD Box

6 Nov
 
This, in my humble opinion, is a long-overdue release. Florida native Ray Charles’ output while with the ABC-Paramount label was pretty extraordinary. And while his earlier Atlantic recordings placed him on our collective radar for the first time, his ABC singles allowed him to stretch out and reach for the stars. Country, soul, pop, R & B … it’s all here. And laid down in a way only Brother Ray could. In fact, I can think of no one else who could have pulled this kind of mix together in such a cohesive, effortless manner. 53 singles, 11 #1 hits. You call yourself a true fan of American Popular Music and Culture? Then you simply must own this historic collection.

 

RAY CHARLES’ SINGULAR GENIUS: THE COMPLETE ABC SINGLES,
AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 15 ON CONCORD RECORDS, COMPILES
HITS AND B-SIDES — MANY NEVER PREVIOUSLY ON ALBUM

106 recordings on five compact discs totaling 53 singles
are housed in handsome linen-textured collectors’ box

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — With the release of Ray Charles’ Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles, on November 15, 2011, Concord Records will make available for the first time the artist’s collection of ABC-Paramount singles during this prolific period (1960-1972).

The digitally remastered deluxe 106-song collection presents the A and B sides of 53 singles, including 11 #1 hits, such Grammy Award winners “Hit the Road Jack,” “Busted,” “Georgia on My Mind,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Crying Time,” “America the Beautiful,” and many more.

 

Twenty-one of the songs are making their digital debut, and 30 have never previously been available on CD. Liner notes were written by R&B recording artist and music historian Billy Vera and rare photographs are included.

According to Valerie Ervin, president of the Ray Charles Foundation, “This compilation provides an opportunity to hear Ray’s evolution into a full-fledged artist and creative force. The song selection was based upon the interpretation he could bring to the music and not the genre. The ABC singles comprise an epoch of essential Ray Charles music and a window into how his genius evolved.”

John Burk, Concord Music Group’s Chief Creative Officer stated, “Ray Charles is one of America’s most iconic and treasured voices. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to present Ray’s historic ABC singles with the reverence and respect they deserve and continue our dynamic partnership and acclaimed reissue program with Valerie Ervin and everyone at the Ray Charles Foundation.”

By the time the singer released his first single for his new label affiliation, ABC-Paramount, in January 1960, he had crossed over into the stardom that show biz insiders had long known was his due. After several years of R&B hits on his previous label, Atlantic Records, he’d finally reached the coveted white teen market with his smash, “What’d I Say,” the simplest, most basic song of his career.

 

Charles’ contract was coming up for renewal and the Atlantic brass expected an easy negotiation. After all, most entertainers took a passive approach to their business, especially when things were going well. However, his agency, Shaw Artists, wanted to bring Charles to a broader audience, which they felt could be better delivered by a major record company.

One such company was ABC-Paramount, a newer major that had found success with teen idols Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian, while crossing Lloyd Price over into pop. ABC’s Larry Newton convinced label president Sam Clark that Ray Charles was the ideal artist to not only make hits but to attract other black acts to the fold. Charles was granted a magnanimous contract that included ownership of his masters after five years. Even Frank Sinatra, as Vera points out, did not have a deal like this.

 

Sid Feller became Charles’ A&R man and producer. Though as Atlantic’s Jerry Wexler once said, “You don’t produce Ray Charles; you just get out of the way and let him do his thing.”

After striking a rich deal, the Ray Charles/ABC relationship had a momentary setback when the first ABC single, “Who You Gonna Love” b/w “My Baby,” sold disappointingly. The second single, “Sticks and Stones,” a “What’d I Say” knockoff, went to #2 R&B and #540 pop. Finally, the third ABC single, “Georgia on My Mind,” culled from the album The Genius Hits the Road, reached #1 on the pop charts. With the overwhelming popularity of “Georgia on My Mind,” Charles was at last a full-fledged mainstream star, right up there with the Nat Coles and Peggy Lees. The company’s strategy was to cater to his new market while still releasing singles to serve his R&B base.

Charles in the meantime launched a publishing arm, Tangerine Music, signing one of the greats of West Coast blues, Percy Mayfield. Mayfield brought with him a song he’d pitched to Specialty Records without success, “Hit the Road, Jack.” Ray’s version rose to #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. It was followed by “Unchain My Heart.”

ABC-Paramount celebrated his grand success by giving Charles his own label, Tangerine, which he used to record some of his personal R&B heroes including Mayfield, Louis Jordan, and Little Jimmy Scott. At the same point in time, Charles became enamored of country music and recorded several country sides: “Take These Chains From My heart,” “Busted,” “That Old Lucky Sun,” and from Buck Owens, “Crying Time” and “Together Again.”

 

1966 saw the opening of Ray Charles’ own RPM Studios on Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles. The first song he recorded at the facility was “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” a Coasters cover penned by Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson, and Jo Armistead.

The ABC-Paramount recordings continued into the late ’60s and early ’70s. In 1972 Charles cut a version of the New Seekers hit, “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma,” but it was the B-side, “America the Beautiful,” that became a runaway hit, Grammy Award winner (one of five on this collection) and to a younger generation unfamiliar with his earlier major works, his signature song.

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Ray Charles Live In Concert to be Re-issued by Concord Music Group

22 Mar

In the half-century between his earliest recordings in the 1950s and his death in 2004, Ray Charles ascended to icon status by leaving his mark on virtually every form of American popular music that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Nowhere was this more evident than in his live performances, where one was likely to hear shades of blues, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, country, and more in a single evening – indeed, sometimes in a single song. To put it simply, the Right Reverend did it all.

 All of these subtle shades and styles are evident in Concord Music Group’s reissue of Ray Charles Live in Concert. Originally released as a 12-song LP on ABC-Paramount in early 1965, Live in Concert captured Ray at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in September 1964. More than four decades later, the CD reissue brings additional depth and perspective to the 1964 recording with the help of 24-bit remastering, seven previously unreleased tracks and extensive new liner notes that provide additional historical context to what is already considered a pivotal recording in Ray’s overall body of work.

“There could be no more uplifting live musical experience than digging Ray Charles and his mighty orchestra in their prime,” says roots music historian Bill Dahl. Indeed, the 15-piece orchestra backing Ray on this date – assembled just a few years earlier in 1961 – boasted no less than a dozen horns, including formidable saxophonists David “Fathead” Newman, Hank Crawford, and Leroy “Hog” Cooper, all of whom had been with Ray since his days as a leader of smaller combos. “This amazing aggregation,” says Dahl, “was every bit as conversant with the intricacies of modern jazz as with the gospel-blues synthesis that Brother Ray pioneered during the mid-1950s, when he began accruing serious cred as the father of what would soon become known as soul music.”

Chris Clough, Concord’s manager of catalog development and producer of the Live in Concert reissue, notes that the Shrine Auditorium performance took place at a transitional moment in Ray’s career, just as he was transcending the confines of R&B and entering the mainstream by demonstrating a firm grasp of various other genres. “He’d made his ascendance in the early ’60s, and he had the world at his feet by this time,” says Clough. “He’d basically invented soul, he’d done R&B, he’d conquered country and he was on his way to becoming an American icon.”

In the span of 19 songs, Live in Concert illuminates the route to that destination. Ray wastes no time taking his audience on a ride from jazzy big band groove of “Swing a Little Taste” to the Latin-flavored “One Mint Julep” to the blues-gospel hybrid of his classic “I Got a Woman.” Although his live rendition of “Georgia On My Mind” on this date didn’t make the cut on the original LP, the song is a standout track on the reissue, thanks to his complex organ runs and the flute lines moving in counterpoint with his rich vocals.

Clough considers the yearning “You Don’t Know Me” and the previously unreleased “That Lucky Old Sun” to be among the high points of the recording. “It sounds like he’s really baring his soul on those two tracks, and they just sound incredible,” says Clough, noting that Ray was unaware that tape was rolling during this performance. “This particular date was at the end of their tour, and the performance seems a little loose as a result – in a good way, and in a less slick way.”

Further in, the rousing “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” is driven by a gospel groove and embellished with a sax solo by Newman that closely mirrors the original 1957 recording. The result is a familiar hit for an audience that’s more than ready to reinforce Ray’s foot-stomping beat with handclaps.

The sly and swaggering “Makin’ Whoopee” is delivered completely off the cuff, with drummer Wilbert Hogan, bassist Edgar Willis, and guitarist Sonny Forriest improvising an accompaniment behind what Dahl calls “Ray’s luxurious piano and breathy, supremely knowing vocals.” By all accounts, Ray spontaneously inserted the song into the set in response to the negative press he’d received overseas about his private life.

In the home stretch, Ray introduces the Raeletts, the female backing vocalists who served as his foil for some of his biggest hits. Together they work their way through “Don’t Set Me Free” (with Lillian Fort stepping forward for a duet with Ray), the comical “Two Ton Tessie” and the torchy “My Baby” before climaxing with the churning “What’d I Say,” a song tailor-made to stoke any room to a fever pitch.

A huge piece of the Ray Charles legacy is his mastery of any style he touched, and his ability to make it his own in a way that no other artist could – powers that can only come from an innate sense of adventure and spontaneity that are fully evident in Ray Charles Live in Concert.

“Few performers were less predictable onstage than Ray Charles,” says Dahl. “And nobody did it better.”

www.concordmusicgroup.com

Undiscovered Ray Charles Masters are Released by Concord Records

24 Sep

Concord Records is celebrating the 80th birthday of the legendary Ray Charles with a special gift for his legions of fans: Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters. This treasure trove of newly discovered recordings, highlighted by a duet with fellow icon Johnny Cash, will become available on October 26th, 2010.

Culled from four decades worth of demos and other previously unreleased material, Rare Genius showcases the remarkable artistic vision, stylistic range and emotionally rich vocals that crafted Charles enduring legacy. Listening to the ten gems from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s that comprise this CD, fans will have no trouble envisioning the late singer rocking back and forth at the piano as he effortlessly segues between R&B/soul, pop, country and gospel. “Ray would always get inside the meaning of a lyric and make the listener believe every word,” says Concord Music Group Chief Creative Officer, John Burk. “His vocals carried incredible emotion and intensity, even on demo tapes. What we have here with Rare Genius is on par with some of his greatest works.”

And that’s crystal clear right from the album’s sparkling opener, “Love’s Gonna Bite You Back.” The March 1980 session track features an upbeat horn arrangement behind what Rare Genius liner notes author Bill Dahl calls “a Charles vocal that’s a signature mixture of sandpaper grit and heavenly goodness.” Up next is the stunning ballad “It Hurts to Be in Love,” which underscores the album’s main thematic focus and one of Charles’ favorite subjects: the ups and down of romance. Another compelling standout is the gospel-stirred Charles and Cash duet on Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me, Lord?” Discovered in the Sony vaults, the song was produced by Billy Sherrill in Nashville and recorded in 1981 for an anticipated release on a CBS album. For unknown reasons, that didn’t come to pass. What’s more important, however, is the emotional charge you get listening to these two powerful voices come together in this spirited and inspired pairing.

Except for “Lord,” the nine other Rare Genius tracks including the soul-drenched “I Don’t Want No One But You,” a blues-infused cover of songwriter Hank Cochran’s country classic “A Little Bitty Tear” and the joyous “I’m Gonna Keep on Singin'” were found in the vault at Charles’ R.P.M. International Studios in Los Angeles. Adding a little sweetening to some of the sparse, stripped-down tracks was a team of top-notch musicians and artists: guitarists Keb’ Mo’ and George Doering, organist Bobby Sparks, trumpeter Gray Grant, trombonist Alan Kaplan, bassists Trey Henry and Chuck Berghofer, drummers Gregg Field and Ray Brinker and background vocalist Eric Benet.

As with its Concord predecessor, 2004’s Grammy-winning Album of the Year Genius Loves Company, Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters is another fitting tribute to Charles, who would have turned 80 on September 23, 2010. It’s a fresh, vibrant reaffirmation of the music icon’s unparalleled artistry and legacy.

http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/Rare-Genius-The-Undiscovered-Masters/

Ray Charles’ “Genius + Soul = Jazz” Just Got Better

30 Mar

Ray Charles LP “Genius + Soul = Jazz” has been a mainstay in my personal wax collection for quite some time now. You might say it’s the missing link between the Count Basie Orchestra and Booker T. and the MGs. The recording features a face-melting horn section and a greasy down home feel that hints towards a Memphis vibe that had not yet been created.  Brother Ray’s groovy take on The Clovers’ “One Mint Julep” is alone worth the price of admission. The original CD release upped the anty by including the “My Kind of Jazz” LP, which carried on in a similar winning vein.

Now Concord Records new 2-CD expanded edition captures an amazing total of 37 tracks — and there’s not a clunker in the bunch!  The additional tracks come from the “Jazz Number II” and “My Kind of Jazz Part 3″ collections. Those final 17 songs (including bonus track “Misty”) spotlight Charles’ work as  a producer and the Basie influence is agan very evident. The arrangements swing and the shear power of the brass will blow you away. I didn’t think this CD collection could get any better, but it obviously has.  Buy it now and swing along with Ray.       

Ray Charles was best known for his work in the idioms of R&B, rock ‘n’ roll and even successful forays into country. But he also recorded influential jazz albums, including the groundbreaking Genius + Soul = Jazz originally released in 1961, and continuing into the ’70s with My Kind of Jazz, Jazz Number II and My Kind of Jazz Part 3. Concord Records will release a deluxe edition two-CD set featuring digitally remastered versions of all four albums including encyclopedic liner notes by Will Friedwald, jazz writer for The Wall Street Journal and author of several books on music and popular culture, along with original liner notes by Dick Katz and Quincy Jones.

Genius + Soul = Jazz was recorded at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, in late 1960. The producer was Creed Taylor; arrangers, Quincy Jones and Ralph Burns. Ray Charles played the organ with three vocals (“I’ve Got News for You,” “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” and “One Mint Julep”) and band members included members of the Count Basie Orchestra: Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Billy Mitchell, Frank Wess, Freddie Green, and Sonny Payne among others. Issued originally on ABC Records’ legendary Impulse jazz label, the record ascended to the #4 spot on Billboard’s pop album chart, and spawned the very first singles on Impulse, heretofore an album label. “I’ve Got News for You,” rose to #8 R&B and #66 on the Hot 100. In addition, Charles’ version of “One Mint Julep” charted #1 R&B and #8 pop, and his rendition of the blues standard “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” reached #25 R&B and #84 pop.

As annotator Friedwald states, “Genius + Soul = Jazz . . . was a bold and innovative album, but, at the same time, a direct step forward from his earlier work.” Although Basie himself does not appear on the album, the Count was a major model as Charles assembled a full-scale, working orchestra. Basie also influenced his use of organ in a jazz context, and Charles was happy to record at the Van Gelder studio, where Jimmy Smith had recorded his classic Blue Note albums. Truly, as Dick Katz wrote in his original January 1961 liner notes, “The combination here of rare talent plus uncommon craftsmanship has produced a record that showcases the timeless quality and innate taste that is uniquely that of Ray Charles.”

Some nine years later, Charles recorded another jazz album, My Kind of Jazz. With sessions in Los Angeles this time, Charles surrounded himself with such players as Bobby Bryant and Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Glen Childress, trombone; Andy Ennis, Albert McQueen and Clifford Scott, saxophone; and Ben Martin, guitar. The album contained Charles’ own “Booty-Butt” (which was issued as a single on his own Tangerine label), Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder,” and Horace Silver’s “Señor Blues.”

In his original liner notes to My Kind of Jazz, Quincy Jones wrote, “This album is the essence of what Ray used to tell us when we were kids: Be true to the soul of the material you’re dealing with.”

Jazz Number II was recorded roughly two years later at Charles’ Tangerine/RPM Studios and issued on Tangerine Records. Charles enlisted an impressive cast of arrangers: Alf Clausen, Teddy Edwards, Jimmy Heath and Roger Neumann. The tracks included Ray Charles and Roger Neumann’s “Our Suite,” Teddy Edwards’ “Brazilian Skies” and “Going Home,” Thad Jones’ “Kids Are Pretty People” and Jimmy Heath’s “Togetherness.”

Finally, My Kind of Jazz Part 3, which concludes the Genius + Soul = Jazz deluxe package, was recorded in Los Angeles circa 1975, featured the Ray Charles Orchestra including Clifford Solomon, alto sax; Glen Childress, trombone; Johnny Coles, trumpet; Leroy Cooper, baritone sax; and James Clay, tenor sax. Included are compositions by Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Jimmy Heath and Benny Golson. Issued on Charles’ own Crossover Records, the album reached #55 on the R&B chart in 1976.

The reissue of Genius + Soul = Jazz continues Concord Music Group’s long-term reissuing of the Ray Charles catalog in cooperation with the Ray Charles Foundation. Among the other albums repackaged in the past year are Genius Hits the Road, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Message From the People, plus the career compilation titled Genius.

Ray Charles is Back on the Road

2 Oct

ray

Here’s another fine re-release by the folks at Concord Music Group. This collection is a bit of a musical road map as Brother Ray travels from state to state and burgh to burgh — musically, that is. The CD is pretty strong throughout, although I must confess I strongly prefer The Raeletts to the Anita Kerr Singers when it comes to the backing vocal choruses. That’s pretty much a no brainer if you’re under the age of 85.

There are a couple of flat tires along the way – most notably Deep in the Heart of Texas and Blue Hawaii. Ray often had the ability to elevate cheesy material with his magical interpretive prowess, yet these 2 cuts are really hard to sit through. The latter is just too closely identified with Elvis, while Texas  is a toss away novelty romp and that should have been tossed away … period.

The bonus tracks are OK and include a swinging version of Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky. The Beatles’ The Long and Winding Road is awkward at best and John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads is an obvious mistep. All in all the hits outweigh the misses, making this a pretty enjoyable road trip with one of the great vocal stylists of our time – or any time for that matter. Buckle up and hit the gas pedal! 

Here are some additional notes from the product description …

When Ray Charles left Atlantic Records for ABC-Paramount, his first move was to gather up a dozen vintage songs about U.S. destinations. The resulting album, The Genius Hits the Road, in turn gave Charles his first No. 1 hit, a soulful reading of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia On My Mind.” The album, which also contains such travel songs as “Alabamy Bound,” “California, Here I Come,” “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and “Blue Hawaii,” marked the start of Charles’ long association with producer Sid Feller and featured band longtime accompanists saxmen David “Fathead” Newman and Hank Crawford, plus the Raeletts.

A deluxe reissue of The Genius Hits the Road, augmented by six bonus tracks, digital re-mastering and new liner notes by Bill Dahl alongside original notes by Rick Ward.

“This was the first album we made together,” said late producer Feller. “(Ray) wanted to do songs either about states or cities. A lot of the material he knew himself. He’d give me some titles and then check through catalogs and publishers for other ones that had names of cities or states.”

The Genius Hits the Road was recorded in two lengthy New York recording sessions in March 1960. “Georgia On My Mind” was first on the evening’s agenda. The song’s lyricist Stuart Gorrell actually found his inspiration in Carmichael’s sister Georgia rather than the state, but the words pay tribute to either. It was Charles’ first No. 1 hit, earning him two of four Grammys that year. The album also contained a version of Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger’s “Blue Hawaii,” recorded originally for the 1937 movie Waikiki Wedding starring Bing Crosby. A year after Charles recorded it, the song became the title track to a 1961 Elvis Presley film.

The 12 songs of The Genius Hits the Road were by no means the only travel tunes Charles recorded in his ABC-Paramount tenure. The expanded edition reissue adds six more. The best known of these is Charles’ No. 1 version of Percy Mayfield’s “Hit the Road Jack,” which joins Les Brown’s “Sentimental Journey,” Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia,” Paul McCartney’s “Long and Winding Road,” John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and Charles’ own “I Was on Georgia Time.”

The Genius Hits the Road vaulted to No. 9 on Billboard’s pop charts during a 50-week run that began in October 1960. But this particular road was just the beginning of a new journey for Brother Ray.

http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/The-Genius-Hits-The-Road/

Concord Reissues Classic Ray Charles LPs

14 Jun

Ray Charles Cover

Please do yourself a favor and pick this one up. The reissue includes both Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 on one CD. It includes some of my favorite Charles interpretations including his goosed up take of The Everly Brothers “Bye Bye Love” and Don Gibson’s timeless “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” I also love the slow, slinky version of “You Are My Sunshine.” Ray and the girls take that tune to church and the results are indeed soul stirring.

Although it may have shocked some people at the time, Ray Charles’s fascination with country and western music was anything but an overnight development.

As a child in Florida, he listened to the Grand Ole Opry’s radio broadcasts that wafted through Southern skies on Saturday evenings. In his late teens, Charles spent several months in Tampa playing piano with a hillbilly band, the Florida Playboys. At an early Atlantic Records rehearsal, he tried Bill Monroe’s “Kentucky Waltz” on for size. One of his last hit Atlantic singles in 1959 was a steel guitar–laced cover of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On.”

Thus, his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and its encore Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume 2 represented the culmination of a lifelong love affair rather than a producer’s convenient way to expand Brother Ray’s LP catalog.

“That was strictly his idea, something that he wanted to do,” confirmed his chief tenor saxophone soloist, the late David “Fathead” Newman.

“He knew what he wanted,” said his late A&R director at ABC-Paramount Records, Sid Feller. “The projects were always his own creation.”

Since joining ABC’s roster in late 1959 after permanently altering the rhythm and blues landscape at Atlantic by mixing blues and gospel into a groundbreaking recipe that sired soul, those projects had included albums devoted to songs about destinations (Genius Hits the Road) and names of women (Dedicated to You). Charles had been contemplating an LP of country chestnuts for years, so to him it wasn’t a radical concept. What was earth shattering was the way Ray redefined each song. His sanctified voice would never be mistaken for that of Ernest Tubb or Webb Pierce, and there was a huge difference between traditional country fiddles and the cosmopolitan strings gracing these two albums. When Ray unleashed the roaring horn section from his recently formed big band, those country evergreens swung like never before.

Having made countless new country converts by giving these 24 songs a soul-steeped urban dimension, Charles would continue to dip into the C&W songbook. He covered Johnny Cash’s hit “Busted” to Grammy-winning acclaim in 1963, and his remakes of Buck Owens’s “Crying Time” and “Together Again” hit during the mid-’60s. Then again, Ray’s unique vocal interpretations inevitably made any song from any genre entirely his own.

“He created more things with his voice than any other singer I ever knew in my life, or ever heard of,” said Feller. “To me, creating itself is the genius part.” That genius permeates these two volumes of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/Modern-Sounds-in-Country-and-Western-Music-Vols-1-/

Poll Names Queen of Soul Top Rock Belter

12 Nov

af

Interesting poll results — can’t argue with Aretha leading the charge.

Ray Charles and Elvis Presley round out a solid Top 3.

Some will argue about Dylan cracking the Top 10.

Others may scratch their heads a bit at Lennon (a shouter) eclipsing McCartney (a crooner). Well, maybe I just answered that one for you. Let’s just say both were great in their own way and neither would have made it as big without the other’s competition. A review of their solo works (Paul gets the nod in my book) confirms that statement.  

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

I can’t wait to see the complete list.

Aretha Franklin greatest singer in rock era: Poll

She’s already the Queen of Soul, but now Aretha Franklin has been named the greatest singer of the rock era in a poll conducted by Rolling Stone magazine.

Franklin, 66, came in ahead of Ray Charles at No. 2, Elvis Presley at No. 3, Sam Cooke at No. 4 and John Lennon at No. 5, according to the magazine’s survey of 179 musicians, producers, Rolling Stone editors, and other music-industry insiders. The 100-strong list will be published on Friday, when Rolling Stone hits the newsstands with four different covers.

Aretha belts the Otis Redding tune, “Respect,” which Franklin made her own

The issue includes testimonials from musicians. R&B singer Mary J. Blige, for example, writes that Franklin is “the reason why women want to sing.” Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, who was No. 15 on the list, describes Presley’s voice as “confident, insinuating and taking no prisoners.”

Besides Franklin, the only other living people in the top 10 were Bob Dylan at No. 7 and Stevie Wonder at No. 9. Marvin Gaye was No. 6, Otis Redding No. 8, and James Brown No. 10.

Other notables included Paul McCartney at No. 11, one place ahead of his idol, Little Richard; and Mick Jagger at No. 16, also one ahead of a key influence, Tina Turner. Among the top 25, 50-year-old Michael Jackson was the youngest, coming in at No. 25.

Voters included Metallica frontman James Hetfield, folk singers David Crosby and Yusuf Islam, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, punk rock veteran Iggy Pop and English pop star James Blunt. They each submitted their top 20 choices, and an accounting firm tabulated the results.

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