I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You: Aretha Franklin, Respect, and the Making of a Soul Music Masterpiece

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Macmillan, Nov 9, 2004 - Music - 256 pages
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I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin's first album for Atlantic Records and famed producer Jerry Wexler, was a pop and soul music milestone that jump-started Franklin's languishing career. Almost overnight, Aretha became a top-selling recording artist and a cultural icon. But the album almost didn't happen. Matt Dobkin has unearthed fascinating details about the recording session in Muscle Shoals, Alabama: about the volatile behavior of Aretha's manager/husband, Ted White; about Aretha's reaction to the lack of black musicians in the session; and about how tempers and alcohol almost derailed the session with only a track and half in the can.

This book goes far beyond anything that's been written about "The Queen of Soul" or her music before. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You is the story of a great achievement and includes scores of fresh interviews: Wexler, the session men from Muscle Shoals, Aretha's own musicians, and others. It gives insight into a star more complex and determined than her modern diva image would seem to indicate. Aretha, a teenage mother and daughter of a commanding preacher father, rose above her circumstances and transformed them into art. She gave the civil rights movement, already well under way in 1967 when the album came out, a passionate call to arms. And with "Respect"-along with the title track, one of the album's first two singles-she provided the burgeoning feminist movement with an enduring theme song.

The first serious, nonbiographical look at Aretha Franklin's work, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You will deepen even ardent fans' understanding of one of the great soul artists of our time, a direct descendant of Bessie Smith and Billie Holliday.

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About the author (2004)

Matt Dobkin is the author of Getting Opera. He is the former classical music editor at Time Out New York, and his work has appeared in New York magazine, Bazaar, Out, and a variety of other publications. He lives in New York City.

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