Aretha Franklin Biography

The Greatest Singer Of All Time

Biography and Guitar Lessons

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Live performance

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin must have been considered as the one that got away by Berry Gordy who did try to sign her to his record label, Motown.

Born in Detroit and with a gospel singing father that managed her from an early age, Motown seemed like the natural choice.

However, Aretha’s father rejected Berry in 1960 as he didn’t believe the label was big enough for his daughter. Instead, he signed her to Columbia in 1961.

Aretha stayed with Columbia for five years without achieving any major success. By now, Motown was huge and some regret may have been in her father’s mind. Nevertheless, late 1966 Aretha signed for Atlantic records.

Just a few months later the following year, she went to a studio in Alabama that also had developed a house band, just like Motown had.

Set in Alabama, the house band strangely wasn’t made up of an all-black cast like Motown’s Funk Brothers were, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was all white.

After spending only one day in the studio, after a hefty argument, the session was over before it seemingly had begun.

Still, one song had been recorded this day and was quickly released. It became her first top ten hit. The tune was I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Love You).

This would serve as the starting point for Aretha’s incredible worldwide success.

Following her first hit, Aretha released Respect, Chain Of Fools, Think, I Say A Little Prayer, and Rock Steady.

It’s probably impossible to find a female soul singer that doesn’t hold Aretha in the highest possible regard. Her influence is so important to the genre she personifies it.

In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her as #1 on their list of 100 Greatest Singers Of All Time.

Acoustic Guitar Lessons

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 1 (Free Preview)

In this firsts step, we learn two extremely detailed TAB examples which are exact transcriptions of what I play in the video with the singer.

Out of all 8 steps, this is by far the most difficult. It is also the most complex lesson so far in this course.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 1.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 2

Luckily, this step is much easier to nail than step 1, which was testing, to say the least.

Now we’re dealing with chord II and VI mainly. The rhythm is super repetitive and you could even make up your own variations.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 2.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 3

The easiest step among these 8 is here, playing the intro.

Ironically, it looks the most complicated if you focus on the chord names. In the video lesson, I talk about why these chords have the names they do.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 3.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 4

It’s time to play the complete song. As you’ve practiced each section individually, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

Still, the verse strumming is difficult. Try copying me in detail as well as just playing along, not worrying too much about it.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 4.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 5

Is it an F# Minor Pentatonic, or is it an A Major Pentatonic? That is the question you must answer today by being able to hear the difference.

This is definitely not easy as they have the same notes!

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 5.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 6

The secret to hit melody writing is revealed in this step. Let’s learn from Sam Cooke, he’s definitely one of the best!

Having something to say certainly helps, although to get on the radio, you got to hit the correct intervals as well…

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 6.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 7

In this step, we look at how you could construct a 2nd guitar part that will work with me and the singer.

Start by playing as the TAB show and I explain in the video lesson, then try varying it.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 7.

A Change Is Gonna Come – Step 8

The time has come to play with me and the singer as if we were meant to play together.

Use the 2nd guitar part ideas you learned in the last step as your foundation. Every time you play it again, modify it.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come step 8.

Electric Guitar Lessons

Respect – Step 1

Originally, Respect was written by Otis Redding but aimed for a singer called Speedo Sims who made an attempt to record it with his band.

After an unsuccessful session at legendary Muscle Shoals studios, Otis decided to record it himself and then again with Aretha Franklin.

Go to Respect step 1.

Respect – Step 2 (Free Preview)

Being in the key of C, the two verse chords are G7 and F7.

In order to find a good part for the verse, we must explore the fret board using different shapes and try the different rhythms we find on the original recording.

Go to Respect step 2.

Respect – Step 3

Today we start working on how to play the chorus of Respect. There is lots of TAB to go through here.

Using six different rhythms we explore all five areas of the neck.

Go to Respect step 3.

Respect – Step 4

Only four examples to work through in this step. Hopefully, after this, it’ll all come together for you.

We have four bars of a chorus, followed by six bars of verse to play around with.

Go to Respect step 4.

Respect – Step 5

Let’s learn the intro, breakdown, and how to play the chords for the solo.

You never know, there may be a sax player on your gig, that way you won’t have to play the solo!

Go to Respect step 5.

Respect – Step 6

I’m not gonna lie, this lesson is pretty hard. It took me several days to work this sax solo out and learn to play it reasonably well.

I would have liked another week of practice time, to be honest!

Go to Respect step 6.

Respect – Step 7

Reading the TAB and playing as I do in the video is a bit strange. It doesn’t go well with the style, it’s supposed to be improvised.

So if you aim to play exactly what I did, I’m flattered, but really, to build your own variations is the way forward.

Go to Respect step 7.

Respect – Step 8

To play this song on repeat for half an hour means you need to play it twelve times in a row.

You don’t have to play what I did, aim to find something that you’re happy with after playing it twelve times. Who knows, maybe you’ll even try again tomorrow.

Go to Respect step 8.

Related Pages

Chords and Guitar Lessons

The intro to A Change Is Gonna Come is a guitar version of the string arrangement from the original recording.

Think of this song as if in the key of G. By applying a capo on fret 2 you’ll be in the key of A.

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come chords and guitar lessons.


A Change Is Gonna ComeI was born by the river in a little tent
And just like that river I’ve been running ever since
It’s been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Go to A Change Is Gonna Come lyrics.

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Respect is probably the most famous soul song ever recorded. Breaking up the standard blues chord progression we play G7 – F7 during the verse and C7 – F7 during the chorus.

The biggest showpiece of the song is the sax solo, in the course we learn how to play it note for note on the guitar.

Go to Respect chords and guitar lessons.


(Oh) What you want
(Oh) Baby, I got it
(Oh) What you need
(Oh) Do you know I got it?

Go to Respect lyrics.

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