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Aretha Franklin And Whitney Houston

February 19, 2012 by staff 

Aretha Franklin And Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin was thankful to be alive and was thinking about lost friends, among them Whitney Houston.

Hours after she canceled an appearance at Houston’s funeral because of spasms in her legs, the “Queen of Soul” (the “undisputed” Queen, the capacity audience was reminded by the show’s announcer) was quick on her feet, feisty in voice and sentimental and sassy in spirit at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night. It was the latest stop on a “greatest hits” tour featuring old favorites and, since Houston’s shocking death a week ago, a tribute to the fallen singer. Franklin is close to Houston’s family, and she said Houston called her “Aunt Ree.”

Franklin herself was rumored a year ago to be mortally ill, hospitalized with an undisclosed illness and asking her fans worldwide to pray for her health. On Saturday, the 69-year-old looked young enough to joke about a man who had mistaken her for being in her 50s. She danced and shimmied, kicked off her heels and paced the stage barefoot, and even smirked and gave herself a couple of satisfied pats on the rear.

She looked back over a 50-year career and those who helped her along. Franklin praised the late Luther Vandross as she kicked off the R&B hit he co-wrote for her, “Get It Right.” She introduced her most heartbreaking ballad, “Ain’t No Way,” with a brief word about her sister and the song’s composer, Carolyn Franklin, who died in 1988. She sang the title from the classic Motown anthem of devotion, “You’re All I Need To Get By,” and two giant flat screens on opposite sides of the stage flashed a picture of one of the writers, Nick Ashford, who died last summer. Franklin then called out to Ashford’s widow and songwriting partner, Valerie Simpson, among several friends and family members in attendance.

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