Aretha singing for Carole King at Kennedy Center Honors - why didn't I know about this?!

Aretha Franklin comes out in a fur coat, plays piano (something she doesn’t do in public much) and sings You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, which of course Carole King wrote. At the middle 8 of the song, she stands up from the piano (someone else takes over), and delivers. Throws off the coat, and nails a soaring vocal finale.

She’s 73 years old and just kills. In fine voice. Understands exactly when to add melisma, when to back off and come in Ray-Charles-late to the lyric, etc. Carole King is kvelling aggressively the entire time, looking stunned as Aretha sits at the piano, and amazed at how fine Aretha’s voice is, smiling and singing back to Aretha and encouraging her - so fun to see. President Obama and the First Lady are fully engaged.

Just an amazing performance. Don’t know how I missed this.

Just watched this the other night…what a GREAT performance! You gotta love OnDemand TV.


Wow. Did Obama wipe away a tear at the beginning? Not that I blame him.

Someone on my facebook page linked to the performance. Some friend of hers responded with something like “Wow, that was so cool! The camera kept showing that blond woman near President Obama. She was really annoying, but I guess she was having fun.”


Oh, wow. That was just breathtaking. Fantastic!

Thank you so much for this!

Wonderful, just wonderful. My favorite singer honoring my favorite songwriter with one of my favorite songs. Perfect. Thank you so very much for posting this, WordMan.

P.S.: what does Georg Lucas do next to Carole? What’s the connection?

The people being honored that night were Carole King, George Lucas, Rita Moreno, Seiji Ozawa, and Cicely Tyson.

Ah, I see. Thanks.

I know, right?! So glad you all enjoyed it as much as I did. She’s a national treasure.

Yeah, she surely is, and you can be proud of her, but her appeal is universal, she’s beloved all around the world. I would give my right arm to just once see her perform, but sadly I know that she doesn’t perform much anymore , and unfortunately she certainly won’t tour Germany. That’s a pity, but there are her recordings as a consolation.

Oh, it was just a figure of speech. To be clear, I have no issues with declaring her a Global Treasure! :wink: Yes, her music may blend American influences, but she knows world music. I remember when she stepped in to sing Nessun Dorma when Pavarotti took ill.

Reminds me a little of the Led Zep / Stairway to Heaven thing they did at KC. Not sure what that was but it sure as hell wasn’t rock and roll.

Way too bombastic for a song that is more powerful the simpler its performed.

I’m an old school Brit, so feel free to ignore :slight_smile:

You’re presumably talking about this:

You are welcome to tell that to Carole King - she seemed to find Aretha’s performance more than okay.

This is a thread lauding a, yes, bombastic performance. If you want to start a different thread, decrying that type of performance, knock yourself out.

Aretha brought the house down. I know it was rehearsed and calculated, but damn, the vocal chops were there and the calculations were on the money.

She basically carpet bombs a sweet, pure, intimate declaration between lovers - it was CKs evening.

Wendell Wagner, yes.

Wait…“Natural Woman”? “Sweet, little, intimate”?

Pardon me, good sirandormadam, but have you entirely gone off your rocker? That song is in fact an anthem of glorious sexual freedom, a barbaric yawp, larger than society’s collective fist of female oppression.

If the Brits see it as “little,” then, no, I’m sorry, you cannot have it. Aretha may be a worldwide treasure, but that song will have to remain in our custody until your women are lusty enough to properly embrace it.

More seriously, I’ve seen Carole King perform it in concert, and there’s nothing “Sweet, little, intimate” about it. It’s big. It’s raw. It tears forth from her throat like the primal scream of a good orgasm while her hair flies in a deranged halo around her and the piano begs for one more good pounding.

I started this thread to praise this performance. You are not doing that. I am not sure what else to say.

WhyNot - exactly. If the writer of the song loves a performance as much as Carole King loved that performance, that says everything.