There you were: Second to last track Side 1, “Atlantic Soul Classics”.1987 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Take out the TCP) The power, the control, the energy, Never heard a **** thing like it. Then that Cliff Richard Show footage I saw on some old BBC clip show (yeah, I know…Cliff, eh?) “Don’t Play That Song” in crackly black & white Sorry for the language, Sister.. but ****, the power of your piano playing in that moment made me realise that you were not “just a singer” but a full-on force to be reckoned with. Like Sinatra you studied lyrics like a monk deep in illumination and then blew the song away with your received otherworldly knowledge:
Eleanor Rigby The Weight The Dark End of The Street Border Song Bridge Over Troubled Water I Say A Little Prayer
Oh, these were your songs, now. Don’t let anyone forget it.
But there was something more to you than all of this. The way MLK kissed you with beaming pride at some long, forgotten award ceremony. The way you sashayed African culture when you stepped out in public. The way you ripped up your own records when you tread the boards & faced your humbled audience. The way you stood by Angela Davis when she was hooked up on some stupid jackshit Hoover charge. The way you verbalized the black American experience not just through countless moments of sheer liberation but in the solemn way you stepped up to the piano on Amazing Grace You comforted this whiter-than-white Paddy on more than one occasion and forged a path of hope in many of his troubled waters.
Oh, God we will miss you & your power – all of it. That once in a millennia voice whose measured restraint & joyful release touched millions. You will never walk alone.
Farewell Queen. You are finally at peace. Thank you, thank you Ms. Franklin