The Queen of Soul Conquers Europe: Aretha Franklin in Amsterdam, 1968

In May of 1968 Aretha Franklin was at the top of her form. It was only a year since she had switched record com­pa­nies and explod­ed into fame with a string of top-ten hits that have since become clas­sics. Her third album with Atlantic Records, Lady Soul, had just come out and Franklin was on her first-ever tour of Europe. On the sec­ond night she per­formed at Ams­ter­dam’s his­toric Con­cert­ge­bouw, or “con­cert build­ing,” and for­tu­nate­ly for us a cam­era crew was there to record the show.

The result­ing 42-minute film is a remark­able doc­u­ment of one of pop music’s most impor­tant artists per­form­ing in her prime before a wild­ly enthu­si­as­tic audi­ence. The film opens with an awk­ward back­stage inter­view, but the real excite­ment begins at the 6:30 mark, when Franklin and her back­ing singers hit the stage to thun­der­ous applause and launch into an rhythm and blues arrange­ment of the Rolling Stones’ “Sat­is­fac­tion.” The audi­ence rush­es the stage and begins pelt­ing Franklin and the oth­er singers with flow­ers. The musi­cians man­age to fin­ish the song, but before the con­cert can con­tin­ue the mas­ter of cer­e­monies has to come back out and demand that every­one take their seats. Here’s the set list:

  1. Sat­is­fac­tion
  2. Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream
  3. Soul Ser­e­nade
  4. Groovin’
  5. A Nat­ur­al Woman
  6. Come Back Baby
  7. Dr. Feel­go­od
  8. Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet, Sweet Baby)
  9. Good To Me As I Am To You
  10. I Nev­er Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
  11. Chain of Fools
  12. Respect

Although the con­cert was billed as “Aretha Franklin with the Sweet Inspi­ra­tions,” Franklin’s back­ing singers in the film are her sis­ter Car­olyn Franklin, Char­nissa Jones and Wyline Ivey. It’s a fast-mov­ing, ener­getic per­for­mance. Franklin’s voice is strong and beau­ti­ful, straight through to the tri­umphant show-clos­er, “Respect.”

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Comments (3)
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  • Charnissa says:

    It’s my plea­sure to have had the oppor­tun­ty to work for Aretha Franklin. It was by far one of the best expe­ri­ences I’ve had. I will remem­ber Aretha always. Car­olyn and Wyline have both pass away, they were awe­some friends.

    I recent­ly released a sin­gle, “When Can We Do This Again”. This tune can be found on Tunecore, Ama­zon music, Itunes, Spo­ti­fy, Boom­play, Shaz­am, Nap­ster, Gaana, Pandora,and youtube.Take a lis­ten.

    Open Cul­ture is appre­ci­at­ed for this arti­cle on Ms Franklin, The Queen Of Soul.

  • Barnard says:

    Sweet­hearts of Soul Back­ing Singers:… I have searched and searched but have nev­er matched a name to a face… she appears in quite a few Aretha videos around 1971… many names are men­tioned but none are her… I can­not place a pic­ture here for view­ing…

    Warm Regards


  • Eric says:

    Per­haps Eve­lyn Green or Alme­da Lat­ti­more? They (along with Wylene Ivy) were back­ing Aretha Frankin around that time 1970–1971).

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