Aretha Franklin’s death and the service held to honor her reminded me that I grew up in a privileged time and place. Pop, rock, soul, R&B, punk, psychedelic, rockabilly…these were just a few of the emerging sub-genres of music developing. Reaching audiences like me were aided by advances in the recording, duplicating, and broadcasting media. As people, we were forced in earlier eras to travel to bars, clubs, and other venues to enjoy performers’ offerings. Radio and television changed that, and the Internet has expanded that ability.
I was lucky. I had radios and television, food, a roof, decent schools, and relatively stable home life. I was lucky, too, because great producers, musicians, and entrepreneurs were bringing us the sounds. And I was lucky because there were people and groups like the Stones, the Who, the Supremes, CCR, Led, Santana, Aretha, Elvis, Stevie Wonder, the Jacksons and Osmonds, Eric Clapton, John Mayall…what a list could be made. But that’s what wikipedia is about.
I have my favorites. Guitar heroes and keyboard masters remain my weakness, but great voices and song-writers always turn my head, too. Or, give me a beat…yeah, you know.
Thinking of all that, and the riotous eternal summer that was my youth, I remembered Diana Ross & The Supremes. The catalog of their songs is stupendous, and their hits are cherished as classics of an era and the Motown Sound. Was it the end of the innocence, the beginning of the awakening, or the age of Aquarius?
Here is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, written by Ashford and Simpson, and recorded by many, but the cover streaming to me today is the one by “Diana Ross and the Supremes”. It’s powerful stuff to stream.