Aretha Franklin could have proclaimed whatever she wanted when she walked up the aisle of the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, on January 13, 1972. Her performance would be the first of two nights there and her introduction, the audience’s cheers, and an arsenal of microphones and cameras, gave her the foundation and anticipation to shout in a voice that had become internationally familiar. Still, at that church, when Franklin wasn’t singing, she hardly said anything.
Franklin was away from Detroit, where she was raised, and New York, where she lived, but a longtime friend, Rev. James Cleveland, led the New Temple service in front of his choir and her working band. Another minister, her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, was in the house — as were her sisters and a couple of mentors. Her “Young, Gifted and Black” album would be released less than two weeks later, but she never mentioned that in the church. Neither did Cleveland nor her father
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Aretha Franklin’s Top-Selling Album Is Still ‘Amazing Grace,’ an Exhilarating Departure From Soul was originally published on praisecleveland.com