Aretha's best work, showcased here, proves that she has justly earned her title as Queen of soul despite some ups downs in her long career. Aretha took a long time to establish herself but once signed to Atlantic, she found a producer (Jerry Wexler) who was able to make the most of her distinctive talents.
Aretha has had many major hits in America although she has not been particularly successful in the British singles charts. During her time with Atlantic, Aretha had two UK top ten hits (Respect, I say a little prayer) and two other UK top twenty hits (Don't play that song, Spanish Harlem). All those hits are included here, together with many of Aretha's other classic recordings for Atlantic, some of which were minor UK hits but all of which did much better as singles in America. These classics include Think, You make me feel like a natural woman, I never loved a man they way I loved you, Chain of fools, Do right woman do right man, Angel, Since you've been gone and Until you come back to me.
With Aretha's distinctive voice and delivery, her cover versions are always interesting. Surprisingly, Satisfaction (Rolling Stones) is omitted, but Bridge over troubled water (Simon and Garfunkel), Oh no not my baby (Maxine Brown) and Let it be (Beatles) are among those included.
Aretha eventually left Atlantic, joining Arista in 1980. This rejuvenated her career although she never quite achieved the level of success that she had in her early years with Atlantic. However, she had two major international hits via duets - Sisters are doing it for themselves (with the Eurythmics) and I knew you were waiting for me (with George Michael), the latter becoming a number one hit in Britain (where it remains her only number one hit) and America. She also just missed the UK top ten with Who's zooming who - but most of her UK hits in the eighties were minor hits, just as they had been in her Atlantic years.
This compilation, spanning several decades of Aretha's music, clearly shows why she is regarded as the Queen of soul. There are many Aretha compilations to choose from, but if you want one covering her whole career, this is as good as you are likely to find.