Aretha Franklin’s legendary voice is rightfully the first thing that comes to mind at the mere mention of the Queen of Soul. But an often overlooked triumph of her career is her almost unparalleled run as a recording artist: She was the first female artist to place 70 songs on the Hot 100 and is tied with Stevie Wonder for the most No. 1s on Billboard’s R&B chart.
Along with the dozens of albums worth of her own songs that she recorded; Aretha also produced incredible versions of many of the best songs ever written. Her sixteenth studio album, This Girl’s In Love With You, contained two Beatles covers, “Eleanor Rigby” and a version of “Let It Be” that was actually released two months before the Beatles’ original.
Aretha’s Beatles covers reveal surprising character and perspective in the deeply familiar songs, highlighting her innate ability to make every song she sang her own.
Aretha Franklin | “Let It Be”
Her version of “Eleanor Rigby” is bold and searching. Aretha delivers the song from the first-person perspective … “I’m Eleanor Rigby,” she sings; “I pick up the rice in the church where the weddings have been” … giving the song a haunting and confronting vista, entirely different from the Beatles’ original.
Aretha Franklin | “Eleanor Rigby”
This Girl's In Love With You was released on January 15, 1970 and celebrates its 50th anniversary today. While the two Beatles covers rank high in the album’s notable accomplishments, there are plenty more highlights in the 10 tracks that also include “Call Me” and “Son of a Preacher Man” and a rather outstanding version of The Band’s “The Weight.”
Listen to This Girl’s In Love With You on Spotify:
Listen to This Girl’s In Love With You on Apple Music: