Aretha Franklin Steals the Show at 2015 Kennedy Center Honors

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Posted December 30, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in News
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Lady Soul delivers “Natural Woman” to Kennedy Center honoree Carole King

All hail the Queen.

During the Kennedy Center Honors, which aired on December 29, a host of individuals including Cicely Tyson and George Lucas were recognized for their incredible achievements in the field of arts and humanities. Lady Soul Aretha Franklin took to the stage to perform a moving tribute to legendary singer/songwriter Carole King. Her song choice: “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” a King composition that also became one of Franklin’s most iconic hits.

The version began with Franklin on piano, nailing every single nuance of her 1968 original. Then, on the second verse, her soulful background ensemble added on their gospel-tinged swoops to the arrangement. By the song’s closing, Franklin, 73, strutted off the piano and walked towards the middle of the stage, even taking off her fur coat. Then came several mountain top wails, proving once more why she’s adorned with the title of the Queen of Soul.

Carole King could hardly compose herself, turning around in her chair repetitively from complete awe. Nor could President Barack Obama, who also wiped his face while shedding tears. By the end of the performance, virtually every person in the audience was on their feet. This heartfelt tribute ranks up there as one of the best performances at the Kennedy Center, right up there with Heart’s moving tribute to Led Zeppelin back in 2012.

Watch Franklin’s performance in its entirety below.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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