Aretha Franklin Publishes Autobiography "Aretha: From These Roots"
While the Queen of Soul's autobiography is no crowning achievement, it offers a breezy tour through the singer's life and trailblazing recording career.
Raised in a musical household in Detroit (next door to Smokey Robinson, with frequent visits from Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington and Rev. James Cleveland), Franklin made her solo singing debut at the age of 10 in her father's church. At 16, she gave birth to her second son, dropped out of high school and recorded her first album. Several romances and two more sons followed, as did 17 Grammies (the most for a female performer) and more than 20 number-one hits. The strength of this memoir, whose coauthor has collaborated on books by Marvin Gaye, Etta James, Smokey Robinson and Atlantic Records owner Jerry Wexler, lies in Franklin's candid discussion of her craft, song selection and various peers. She's not shy about settling old scores with those she believes have dismissed her in printAincluding Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples and Cissy Houston. But she remains emotionally remote when talking about herself, reserving her real passion for her music. Few will finish this book, however, without an urge to add another Franklin disc to their collection.