The Queen of Soul’s 39th studio album will be an all-covers record featuring her interpretations of songs by other female singers. Billboard reports that Aretha Franklin’s latest release includes her take on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," and Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman," among others.
Tentatively titled Aretha Franklin Sings Songs of the Great Divas, according to Showbiz 411, the album will hit retailers on September 30, one day after the 72-year-old diva appears on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” That release date appears to be no accident – that’s the last day new material can be released in order to be eligible for the 2015 Grammy Awards, and it seems that Franklin and her team want to make sure the new record will qualify so they can potentially add to her already-stunning total of 18 career Grammys.
Legendary producer and executive Clive Davis tells Billboard, "Aretha's new album is purely and simply sensational. She's on fire and vocally in absolutely peak form. What a thrill to see this peerless artist still showing the way, still sending shivers up your spine, still demonstrating that all contemporary music needs right now is the voice. What a voice."
The album reportedly features production from Babyface and Andre 3000, among others. A covers album makes perfect sense, considering that many of Aretha’s biggest hits were first recorded by other artists, including her signature song, “Respect,” which Otis Redding had released two years earlier. Franklin also had hits with covers of the Band’s “The Weight,” the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
By taking on “Rolling in the Deep,” Aretha is obviously aiming high. That song quickly became an instant classic, earning Adele Record and Song of the Year honors at the Grammys. Most performers wouldn’t dare record a new version of such an acclaimed track, but if there’s anyone who can improve on the original, it’s the Queen of Soul.
Other songs on the album include updated versions of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman," Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," Alicia Keys' "No One," Etta James' "At Last," and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," plus songs by Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand, Phoebe Snow, and Diana Ross.
Franklin has a “Today” show gig lined up for October 3 to promote the album. Despite her age, Aretha is still a terrific live performer who plays a decent number of concerts every year. Stay tuned to AXS.com for the latest on any new Aretha Franklin tour dates that may be announced. For now, here’s a look at the shows she currently has lined up:
October 1 - New York, N.Y. - 92nd Street Y
November 8 - Atlanta, Ga. - Fox Theatre
November 13 - Baltimore, Md. - Modell Performing Arts Center At The Lyric