Aretha: From These Roots

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Her soulful, soaring voice has earned her mythic status. Now, in her own moving words, the woman behind the myth is revealed. The result is a captivating self-portrait of one of this century's most fascinating artists, an Aretha Franklin as real as the songs she sings.
        
For the first time anywhere, Aretha tells her story--the glorious triumphs as well as the ...
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1999 Hardcover BRAND NEW Amazing low price.

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1999 Hard Back First Edition; First Printing New in New dust jacket 0375500332. 8vo 8"-9" tall; 272 pages.

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Her soulful, soaring voice has earned her mythic status. Now, in her own moving words, the woman behind the myth is revealed. The result is a captivating self-portrait of one of ... this century's most fascinating artists, an Aretha Franklin as real as the songs she sings. "A child prodigy of the golden age of gospel, the daughter of a world-famous preacher, Aretha was the anointed successor to Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward. But her father had a broader vision and helped Aretha enter the field of pop and jazz. By age eighteen, she was under contract to Columbia Records. Six years later, after only a few minor hits, she switched to Atlantic, where she shook the musical world to its roots. Her song "Respect" became the anthem of an epoch, a touchstone for African Americans, for women, for all people struggling to be free. Aretha became the Queen of Soul, the genre's finest interpreter since Ray Charles. "In Aretha: From These Roots, the singer gets up-close and personal. In rich detail, she paints a vivid picture of a Detroit long gone: the storefront churches, the basement parties, the explosive R&B shows. She documents her life as a single teenage mother, working to balance home life with career, coping with two challenging marriages and, later, romantic relationships that were the source of both tremendous joy and unforeseen heartache. Read more Show Less

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1999 Hardcover New This book is new. DJ shows light edge/shelfwear and 1/8" tear. An inspiring, intimate, and exciting autobiography of the "Queen of Soul, " from her ... music-filled childhood in Detroit through her early days of struggle as a singer to her unprecedented breakthrough success. Read more Show Less

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NY 1999 Hardcover 1st New in new dust jacket. Villard, NY, 1999. 1st edition ed, NEW/NEW, Hardcover, 254pppgs. Aretha Franklin "Queen of Soul", documents her life story, along ... with 16 pages of photos, many of famous musicians. Pristine condition, in dust jacket. ISBN: 0375500332. Shipped in a custom box and packed with care. Read more Show Less

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NY 1999 Hardcover 1st New in new dust jacket. Villard, NY, 1999. 1st Ed. Stated ed, NEW/NEW, Hardcover, 254pppgs. Aretha Franklin tells in her own moving words her story, the ... glorious triumphs as well as the heart-breaking pain. Numerous photo illustrations. ISBN: 0375500332. Shipped in a custom box and packed with care. Read more Show Less

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1999 Hard cover First edition. STATED 1ST EDITION New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 272 p. Contains: ... Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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New York :: London 2000 New. 1 v.

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1999 Hardcover First Edition New 0375500332. Hardback Autobiographical 1st. Ed. New/New (Never Read); 47104.

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Overview

Her soulful, soaring voice has earned her mythic status. Now, in her own moving words, the woman behind the myth is revealed. The result is a captivating self-portrait of one of this century's most fascinating artists, an Aretha Franklin as real as the songs she sings.
        
For the first time anywhere, Aretha tells her story--the glorious triumphs as well as the heartbreaking pain. With refreshing candor, Aretha tells it like it is, the way she sees it, the way she lived it.
        
A child prodigy of the golden age of gospel, the daughter of a world-famous preacher, Aretha was the anointed successor to Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward. But her father had a broader vision and helped Aretha enter the field of pop and jazz. By age eighteen, she was under contract to Columbia Records. Six years later, after only a few minor hits, she switched to Atlantic, where she shook the musical world to its roots. Her song "Respect" became the anthem of an epoch, a touchstone for African Americans, for women, for all people struggling to be free. Aretha became the Queen of Soul, the genre's finest interpreter since Ray Charles.
        
In Aretha: From These Roots, the singer gets up-close and personal. In rich detail, she paints a vivid picture of a Detroit long gone: the storefront churches, the basement parties, the explosive R&B shows. She documents her life as a single teenage mother, working to balance home life with career, coping with two challenging marriages and, later, romantic relationships that were the source of both tremendous joy and unforeseen heartache.    
        
Along the way, we meet the characters who lit up her life: her charismatic father, the Reverend C. L. Franklin, "the man with the million-dollar voice"; Sam Cooke, the man of her dreams; her singing sisters, Erma and Carolyn, and her manager-brother, Cecil; her famous colleagues--Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Luther Vandross, and Luciano Pavarotti--as well as some famous rivals.
        
Aretha emerges as a triumphant woman of rare wit, willing to share with us her passion for great music, great food, and great love affairs. Her book does more than illuminate some of the most exciting songs ever sung; it lets you into the heart and mind of the mesmerizing woman who sang them.  
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
She's been the unchallenged Queen of Soul for more than three decades, but through it all Aretha Franklin has remained a very private person. Now, in Aretha: From These Roots, she opens up and gives us the diva's-eye view of her life and storied career.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 print--including 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. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Most listeners will find this autobiography lacking in both sound and substance. Ann Duquesnay, an award-winning Broadway actress with a strong, beautiful voice, delivers Franklin's frequently self-congratulatory prose with a haughtiness that emphasizes the narcissistic nature of the work. Also, because Franklin is evasive about her personal history, this is more an annotated discography of her extraordinary career as a soul singer than a true biography. On the rare occasions when she does open up, the results are moving and the narration superb. For instance, the description of the events surrounding the tragic death of her father, the renowned Rev. C.L. Franklin, is quite powerful. With this work, Franklin and coauthor Ritz, veteran biographer of musical superstars including Ray Charles and B.B. King, will likely disappoint those hoping for a substantial examination of the life of the "Queen of Soul." For popular collections.--Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Tom Sinclair
Franklin and Ritz tell the story of her rise from talented gospel singer to pop superstar in easy-to-digest, bite-size chapters that add up to a handy career overview.
Entertainment Weekly
David W. Grisby
Now Aretha Franklin, 56, is allowing fans a peek into her world through a sometimes rich...account of the Queen of Soul's personal and professional lives.

People

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375500336
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 6.49 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Aretha Franklin has won more Grammys--fifteen--than any female in history and was granted the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. The first wo-man to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she was also the youngest recipient of a Ken-nedy Center Honor. The state of Michigan has pro-claimed her voice a natural resource. Miss Franklin lives in Detroit.

David Ritz, a three-time winner of the Ralph Glea-son Music Book Award, is the bestselling biographer of Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, B. B. King, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Jerry Wexler, and Sinbad. His novels include Blue Notes Under a Green Felt Hat; his lyrics include "Sexual Healing." Mr. Ritz, who won a 1992 Grammy for Best Album Notes, lives in Los Angeles.

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Read an Excerpt

The biggest heartthrob of my teen years, though, wasn't to be found in the roller rink or the halls of Hutchins Junior High. He was to be found in church. He was a singer and a star, one of the finest brothers ever to grace New Bethel. When I first saw him, all I could do was sigh; my unspoken response as I looked back over my shoulder was, Oh my God--who is that?
When I saw him and his brother L.C. coming down the aisle for that evening's program, I got happy long before the singing started.

I'm talking about Sam Cooke.

The Soul Stirrer

It must have been around 1955 or '56. Daddy was backing the presidential candidacy of Governor Adlai Stevenson. Daddy was a staunch, lifelong Democrat, as am I. But back then, when I was a girl growing up on the North End of Detroit, politics were way over my head, while music hit me right at home.

I loved the secular music played by Rocking with Leroy--Little Willie John, the Flamingos, the Moonglows, and the Spaniels. But it was at Daddy's church that another sound and sight really rocked my world. It was during one of the gospel programs at New Bethel that I was introduced to the Soul Stirrers. One Stirrer stirred me more than the rest.

Some men can sing, charm, and shine; some are easy with their good looks, others radiate confidence. Sam had all of this and more--the personality of a prince and a voice to match. He was one in a million. Yet for all his abundant talent, he exuded simple humility, the sign of a great person. He treated everyone with respect. His manners were impeccable. Sam was in a class by himself.

I had heard the Soul Stirrers, on record and the radio, before that evening I saw them in church. Male quartets were a major part of the golden age of gospel. The great groups like the Swan Silvertones produced great lead singers like Claude Jeter, who, along with Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds and Julius Cheeks of the Sensational Nightingales, were monuments of pure gospel power. Beyond the enormity of their voices and the mastery of their technique, the groups they led had a new and spirited style. Rather than robes, the men might wear matching green or blue or even gold suits. They had their own kind of choreographed steps. They were servants of God, to be sure, but they were also showmen.

Among the great groups of gospel, the women, by contrast, wore lavishly colorful robes and sometimes dress suits, like Ruth "Baby Sister" Davis of the Davis Sisters--Jackie, Audrey, Alfreda, and Curtis Dublin--a very powerful and spirit-filled group, and Dot Love and the Gospel Harmonettes, whom I particularly liked. I also considered Jackie Verdell of the Davis Sisters one of the best and most underrated female soul singers of all time. It was through Jackie that I learned the expression "Girl, you peed tonight"--meaning you were dynamite. Several nights Jackie sang so hard she literally had a spot or two on her robe from peeing. Singing far too hard, I also peed here and there in the early days; I quickly realized no one should sing that hard.

Sam Cooke never sang too hard. He sang hard occasionally, though, and when he did you were in for the best time of your life. Later, of course, Sam would become a major crossover star in the world of pop. But to hear him during his gospel days was a special thrill. His biggest hits were "Nearer to Thee," "Wonderful," and "Touch the Hem of His Garment." As I mentioned, I established myself by singing my first solo in church, "Jesus Be a Fence Around Me," because I loved the Soul Stirrers' version so much.

Sam was love on first hearing, love at first sight. That Sunday evening he and L.C. were outfitted in dark-brown-and-blue supersharp trench coats that had a foreign intrigue about them.

Sam was certainly an inspiration to me. I was so influenced by him that Daddy told me to stop emulating Sam and instead express my own heart and soul. I'm so thankful today for my father's advice.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2000

    'Giving Us Something We Can Feel'

    Let me begin by saying that I too have loved many of Aretha's magnificent works, especially her first string of hits. I am a gospel/soul singer and you will not find any gospel/soul singer (novice or pro) who came after Aretha who would say she didn't influence them. Therefore, I was more than excited to buy and read her book looking for '...something I could feel.' Sad to say, I didn't feel anything but disappointment. In my opinion, the book left me with many unanswered questions from the beginning and throughout. In my opinion, the book lacked substance. At times the book became boring or better yet I found my self saying 'so what.' I was expecting some level of 'depth' from Ms. Franklin. But, I kept reading about who she knew, what she bought, where she lived, what she wore, where she has been (that's obvious of the life of the priviledged.) Even more disappointing was how she got along with others. She didn't say she helped anyone but how 'everybody' else (Gladys Knight, Cissy Houston, Mavis Staples, Luther Vandross, Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston) were wrong. As an African American female, one time single mom, singer, Christian, I looked for the encouragement, wisdom from one of my 'Big Sisters.' Aretha's writings gave me none of that. The only reason I read the book in its entirety was because after I caught on to the constant revelations by Ms. Franklin herself admitting (I don't think she realized it) a life long of self-centerness, self-pleasure, self-indulgence, I had to read it to the end to believe I was hearing (reading) what I was reading. I believe Ms. Franklin missed an opportunity to really give back to those who have admired her work over the years '...something we could feel.'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 1999

    Extremely Disappointing Book

    Let me start off by saying that I have always been a huge fan of Aretha Franklin's music. Yeah, I've heard all the stories about her being difficult, about her 'not being all there' mentally, that she's not a pleasant person, that she is overly impressed with herself, and the fact that she hasn't really been the Queen of Soul for at least 15 years has turned her into a sad woman lost in the past. Well, this book does nothing to dispel any of that. She comes across as disturbed, out of touch, with barely a kind word to say about any other singers. The daughter of a preacher -- she talks ad nauseum about her father -- trust me, much, much more than you could possibly want to know -- and yet this preacher's daughter had two out-of-wedlock children by the time she was 14. Hardly a word about that life change. Other than her father, her second favorite topic is food. (No surprise, I guess) If you love Aretha, just listen to one of her CDs from her heyday. This book is so sad and extremely telling it what she doesn't say.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2003

    A Literary Cat Fight

    I just finished reading Aretha Franklin's book, "From These Roots." I found the book to be quite interesting. I would say it was a thorough look inside of her ife and career in general, from childhood to the present. She opened my eyes to a lot of goings on in the R&B, Gospel and Soul rivited '50's '60's and '70's. She put you right in the middle of it all. However, I feel Ms. Franklin also used this book as a weapon to lash out at some of her colleagues and ex-lovers, and even her own sisters. That, I believe, was totally unnecesary. Whatever was or is going on between Aretha and the people she lashed out at in this book shold have remained out of the public eye (or ear). "The pen is mightier than the sword". I remember a incident in the book where Ms. Franklin says she got into a "snit" with another African-American woman of celebrity status in the halls of the White House of all places! How could she? Ms. Franklin was invited there to recieve an award from the President of the United States, and would stoop as low as to have a "cat fight" in the halls. The book is a very good one, worthy to be read. Please read it. But don't be surprised at the "ghettoism" Ms. Franklin reveals about herself, as you read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2001

    HER TIME ON TOP

    I LOVE THE BOOK. I CAN UNDERSTAND HER KEEPING HER BUSINESS ON THE DOWN LOW. LOVE YA REE, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, AND I'M WAITING ON THE COOK BOOK.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2000

    ON THE OTHER HAND . . .

    I've just completed this book (in 2 days). I've read some of the other reviews here; they're a bit harsh; I began reading this book with that mindset. ON THE OTHER HAND, Aretha's personal accounts took me back with her. Before I started reading, I put on the 'Amazing Grace' CD and proceeded from there. It was so interesting to see all those other 'greats' through her eyes -- people some of us only read about or see on television or hear their music -- it's truly an historical trip -- Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, Reverend C.L. Franklin, Nat King Cole, and countless others. If anything, this book has furthered my interest in reading about the lives of those people and more of Aretha's music. Though I am curious about who 'Mr. Mystique' is. What better (or more interesting) way to study 'Black History', than through the eyes of those who actually lived it??? One thing about an autobiography --- you can't change it/no turning back the clock. It just happened that way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2000

    Multitalented female singer

    Aretha Franklin is a multitalented singer and musician. She makes a whole lot of money selling a million copies in the music recording industry. She sings gospel, blues, jazz and rhythm and blues. She comes from a Christian family. As a matter of fact, her father was a pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church. She is a family man. The book was very good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2000

    Great singer/bad author

    Like most people, I am a great fan of Aretha's but I was so disappointed with her book. She might be the greatest singer alive, but she KNOWS it. It seems odd to me that Natalie Cole, Mavis Staples, Cissy Houston, Luther Vandross and Gladys Knight all had problems with her and it was THEIR fault. There was waaaay to much mention of food for someone who is as overweight as she is now. don't get me wrong, I love the woman, as a singer but she really seems like a very pompous person in this book. Guess she didn;t read the book before it went on the shelves to realize that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2000

    She can really sing but can't write a lick

    I was so disappointed in this book. I've been a huge Aretha fan - I love her singing and her style. In the book she talks about being blessed by so many gifts. And I believe her. She was not however blessed with the ability to write well. And what was her co-writer paid for. He cetainly didn't help the project. Sad to say this was disjointed, uninteresting, and dry as day old toast.

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