• by David Ritz
  • Narrated by Brad Raymond
  • 17 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz.
Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots, that fame and fortune finally came via "Respect" and a rapidfire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions.
Again and again, Aretha stubbornly finds a way to triumph over troubles, even as they continue to build. Her hold on the crown is tenacious, and in Respect, David Ritz gives us the definitive life of one of the greatest talents in all American culture.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator Brad Raymond does a great job of portraying the relatives and friends in her life who helped her succeed." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

New and Renewed Respect For A Living Legend

Would you listen to Respect again? Why?

The story was researched and written well and told in a way that was entertaining.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ruth Bowen Aretha's outspoken and salty booking agent who didn't have any reservations in telling it the way she saw it. Everyone should be so lucky to have a Ruth Bowen in their lives.

What about Brad Raymond’s performance did you like?

His performance was great and told the story with unabandoned engagement and bright imagination giving each character their own vocal inflections and tone.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Retouched Portrait Of A Diva

Any additional comments?

This book was far more complimentary to the persona of Aretha Franklin that I thought it would be based on her own reaction to the book proclaiming it was just a book of lies. Not only did it recount several stories that I had known about previously being an enduring fan of Aretha over the years, it also includes historical events and other stories told by Aretha's contemporaries who had interactions with her. I thought the book was well written and researched and should give us a new...or renewed respect for this woman who has had a remarkable career in spite of many obstacles that were personal, professional, real and imagined, imposed by others and self imposed. As the author stated there is not just one story of Aretha, but several. And this story as told by Ritz, paints her in a humanistic light fraught with frailties and imperfections of which she should not be ashamed of and Ritz should not have to apologize for.

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- Unpumped

Very well researched book

I don't usually read unauthorized biographies but I have tremendous respect for David Ritz and I am an unapologetic Aretha groupie. The first thing that struck me about the book was the amount of research that was obviously applied. I knew very little about the Rev. C.L. Franklin's life outside of the church and found this information to be fascinating. I didn't realize the depth of the sibling rivalry between Aretha and her sisters, although I didn't get the impression that they didn't love and support each other. I had heard rumors of her first husband being a pimp and was shocked to find that to be true. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she was such a dominant force in the studio during the Atlantic years as it relates to her production skills, as well as her arrangement prowess. I found myself sympathizing with her insecurities and her bouts with depression, especially when she was with Ted White. I could write for hours about how this book made me feel about her but the bottom line is that we're all human beings who have to deal with life on life's terms and, in that regard, she's no different than anybody else. I actually felt a little guilty after I read the book, as though I were a Peeping Tom peering into her windows. That's how well written and thorough this book was. I know that Aretha wasn't happy about this book and I can't say that I blame her considering how much was revealed. But I couldn't stop listening and I plan on listening to it again because it's just that good. Aretha is an American icon and she has nothing to be ashamed of and this book made me love her music even more, which I didn't think was possible. So if by some miraculous chance that Aretha is reading this I tip my hat to you as an artist and, more importantly, as a woman. Bravo David Ritz.
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- Shawn Moore "Shawn Moore"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-28-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio