Smokey Robinson Remembers Aretha Franklin at Tribute Concert

For Smokey Robinson, the late Aretha Franklin was extra than simply the Queen Soul.

Robinson informed a packed venue that Franklin was his longtime neighbor in Detroit, calling the acclaimed singer his “little sister” whom he nonetheless misses on the “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for The Queen Soul.” He together with some music’s well-respected artists resembling Alicia Keys, Celine Dion and Patti LaBelle took the stage to assist deliver Franklin’s favourite songs again to life in the course of the Jan. 13 taped tribute live performance in Los Angeles.

The tribute will air March 10 on CBS.

“She was the woman subsequent door. In reality, she was the woman proper across the nook who grew to become a lifelong buddy, who grew to become a musical icon,” mentioned Robinson Franklin, who final 12 months died at age 76 from pancreatic most cancers at her residence in Detroit. When they have been youthful, he mentioned they performed hide-and-seek and kick-the-can video games outdoors.

“Before Aretha handed away, she was my longest dwelling neighborhood buddy,” he mentioned.

Robinson talked about assembly a six year-old Franklin for the primary time after her household moved from Buffalo, New York, to Detroit. He mentioned their first encounter got here at Franklin’s residence, which he known as a “mansion.”

“I went into this little room, peeked in and noticed this little 6-year-old woman sitting there enjoying the piano and singing up a storm. … ‘Amazing Grace,’” he mentioned. “She was wonderful. I mentioned to myself, ‘If she needs to, I do know she’s going to be anyone actually vital in present enterprise.’”

Franklin definitely left her imprint on music and the world. She had dozens hits over the span half a century and took residence 18 Grammy Awards. In 1987, she grew to become the primary lady inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame.

The prolific singer and pianist sang on the dedication her longtime buddy the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial in 2011. She carried out on the inaugurations President Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and the funeral for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. President George W. Bush awarded her the Presidential Medal Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005.

One Franklin’s best-known performances was when she sang “My Country ’tis Thee” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

Music mogul Clive Davis informed the group “there’ll by no means ever be one other Aretha Franklin” on the tribute placed on by the Recording Academy. Some the singer’s members of the family together with her grandson who spoke at her funeral have been in attendance on the tribute, hosted by filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry.

Robinson known as Franklin a “game-changing sensation” who had one the “biggest voices” all time. “She was a gifted songwriter, a unbelievable musician and an amazing political activist,” he mentioned. “But for me, she was all the time my little sister who I cherished a lot. I nonetheless love her a lot. But she’s gone residence now to be along with her father. I consider she has been reunited along with her complete rapid household.”

Many others echoed Robinson’s sentiments.

A video montage Franklin was proven on the present’s begin as quotes paying homage to her have been displayed on the display from Obama, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson. The video additionally confirmed the singer in a joyful second laughing alongside with King.

“Aretha set the bar,” a quote from Quincy Jones learn.

Throughout the night time, renditions Franklin’s songs from “Respect” to “I Say a Little Prayer” introduced folks out their seats. Jennifer Hudson, who will star in Franklin’s biopic, kicked f the tribute with an lively efficiency “Think” whereas sporting a surprising white gown. Keys sang whereas enjoying the piano, saying she was “blessed to be right here,” earlier than she launched SZA as the 2 carried out a duet “Day Dreaming.”

Dion obtained a standing ovation earlier than she carried out Franklin’s model “A Change is Gonna Come,” which was initially made by Sam Cooke. LaBelle’s voice soared on “Call Me” with a home band led by music director Rickey Minor, as many all through the group yelled out “encore” after she completed.

Fantasia, Andra Day, Brandi Carlile and Alessia Cara sang “Natural Woman” collectively. Common joined Yolanda Adams who sang ”(To Be) Young, Gifted and Black” because the rapper inserted his personal politically charged rap lyrics into the 1972 track.

Other performers included Shirley Caesar, Kelly Clarkson, Chloe X Halle, H.E.R., John Legend and BeBe Winans.