Smith: Aretha was a queen

Paul W. Smith

“Outta” My Mind on a Monday Moanin’ ”

Aug. 16 claims another.

Aug. 16, 2018 will now be forever remembered as the day we lost Aretha Franklin to pancreatic cancer. To live as long as she did, with all that she quietly dealt with, is further testament to what a strong (natural) woman she was to the very end.

As it turns out, or as fate may have it, we lost the Queen of Soul on the same day of the year as we lost The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, who died in his home on Aug. 16, 1977.

Smith writes: "Aretha Franklin took the stage to sing our national anthem, and taught us all the meaning of respect."

Northwest Flight #255 crashed shortly after takeoff from Metro Airport on Aug. 16, 198, killing all aboard but one little girl.

And we lost my  beloved WJR Radio predecessor Joseph Priestly (“JP”) McCarthy on Aug. 16, 1995.

Aretha was at the top of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 greatest singers of all time. She won 18 Grammy Awards, along with their Lifetime Achievement and Living Legend awards. Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. And she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country’s highest civilian honor.

Living amongst us, she truly was “our” Aretha. Former Ford Motor Company CEO Jacques Nasser was able to pull off getting The Three Tenors to appear at Tiger Stadium July 17, 1999. I was honored and thrilled to accept his invitation to emcee this very special event. I’ll never forget being backstage and taken to meet Josè Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

And then the Queen appeared, and Aretha Franklin took the stage to sing our national anthem, and taught us all the meaning of respect.

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.