Aretha Franklin will finally release her long-awaited new album – a collection of covers overseen by music mogul Clive Davis for RCA-Arista – on Sept. 30. The tentative title is, “Aretha Franklin Sings Songs of the Great Divas.”
According to Showbiz 411, a media blitz surrounding the project is about to have the Queen of Soul everywhere, including David Letterman on Sept. 29 to announce the album and perform the lead single, a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
She’ll also grace the “Today” show on Oct. 3, and will appear two days earlier with Davis for a Q&A at the 92nd St. Y that is going to be jammed with media. It’s already sold out.
It’s a tribute to ten different women, with Aretha re-interpreting their songs. Babyface and Andre 3000 are among the album’s producers, with executive producer Davis hustling to make the Sept. 30 release in time for the Grammy deadline.
The song choices, curated by Davis, Franklin and Babyface, include “Teach Me Tonight,” which Phoebe Snow re-popularized in the 70s, Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Alicia Keys’s “No One,” Barbra Streisand’s classic “People,” Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman, as well as a cover of a Supremes hit, Etta James’s “At Last,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and The Family’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman writes:
The songs have been re-charted and rearranged, re-orchestrated in some really cool ways. This isn’t just a “covers album.” It’s our premiere singer recording songs she’s loved and hasn’t had a chance to do. It’s important for that and so many reasons. Plus, we get to hear a lot of Aretha playing the piano, which is always a treat.
I am floored. I was invited up to Sony today by Clive, who said: “I want to play you some of Aretha Franklin’s new tracks.” I thought they were for an album in the future, like February. He’s 82, and is playing the music so loud you can hear it down 35 floors and across the street at the Hickey Freeman store. He’s also playing Jennifer Hudson’s new album, and showing me videos for the Whitney Houston live DVD coming November 11th. I’m asking to turn the volume down! This is what the music biz used to be like. You say Amazing, but you have no idea.
My bet: radio will be blaring the new “Rolling in the Deep” the minute it breaks as if it were a new song. Very, very clever.