By Bill Dudley

The “Queen Of Soul” first broke onto America’s pop charts in 1967 with “I Never Loved A Man,” amassing a 30 year run that included 18 GRAMMYs and countless soulful songs that have become the soundtrack of all of our lives.

Battling some health issues the past two years, it took awhile for her to complete Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics CD, which she says is her best effort since 1980.

Judging from the thrilled audience that saw her on Late Night With David Letterman, I think she is correct.

I’ve loved Aretha since I was 12 years old, but this really is something special.

Backed by Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mom), and an all star band and chorus, Aretha truly made Adele’s Rollin’ In The Deep her own on the Letterman show.

Produced by Clive Davis and Babyface, this is an album not to be missed. The release date is October 21st, just in time to qualify for one or two more GRAMMYs.

Born in Memphis, and raised in Detroit where she still resides, her daddy Reverend C. L. Franklin would truly be proud. Aretha attempts and succeeds at spinning other diva’s signature songs in a new way, which is very hard to do.

Other highlights from the forthcoming CD, are Etta James’ At Last,” Barbra Streisand’s “People” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

Aretha is indeed herself a survivor, and maybe she has saved the best for last.

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