Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.
The concept album that is Aretha's Gold follows the chronology of Aretha Franklin's hits, all released in 1967 and 1968, apex years of the decade not just in terms of numbers but also as an apogee of its cultural and political zeitgeist.
A brief survey of songs from a six-year period (1968-1974) of Aretha Franklin's 61-year recording career shows there were many more levels to this singer/pianist/activist/songwriter than justifiable claim to original Queen of Soul Divahood.