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Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul Paperback – March 20, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pop/soul singer Franklin refuses to discuss publicly her private life. "There are few singing stars who could get away with such a small degree of personal exposure and still retain their popularity," notes Bego ( Linda Gray ) of a woman whose pain and passion can be heard in songs that have earned her 14 Grammys in a career spanning three decades. Unfortunately, the author's interviews here with those close to the performer, such as Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler and Arista Records president Clive Davis, are so unrevealing that he focuses on Franklin's music rather than her personality, offering a discography and album-by-album analysis. There is a detailed discussion of Franklin's career, which began in Detroit in the 1950s when she sang gospel music in church, then progressed to jazz, blues and later soul and pop music styles. Readers will learn more about the "queen" in her recordings than in these pages. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bego's detail-laden effort could well stand as the definitive reading of the Queen of Soul's life and career, barring an objective account by Her Majesty herself. But while certainly interesting, Aretha's life does not lend itself to the in-print excitement that, say, a Jerry Lee Lewis or a Keith Moon might inspire. Indeed, so much of Franklin's life is shrouded by a veil of privacy that it was a real challenge for Bego to unearth as much as he did. Although he obviously reveres his subject, he nevertheless displays a good reporter's fearlessness in revealing less-than-complimentary aspects of Franklin's life. He occasionally gets bogged down with minutiae (especially when writing about recording sessions), but his overall performance is good. Recommended for popular music collections.
- David M. Turkalo, Social Law Lib., Boston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Exp&ed edition (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306809354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306809354
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,135,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Bego is the author of 60 books on rock & roll and show business, including two "New York Times" Best Sellers, a "Los Angeles Times" Best Seller, and a "Chicago Tribune" Best Seller, three multi-million-sellers, and two half-million selling titles. His latest book is his first novel, "Murder at Motor City Records." Set in a world-famous Detroit record company, it seems that all of the stars on the label have a motive for wanting the company's president dead. It becomes detective Marcus Rusk's most fascinating case.

With over 10 million books in print, Mark is acknowledged as the best-selling biographer in the rock and pop music field. In 2010 he published his memoir about his career as an author, entitled "Paperback Writer." The following year Bego wrote the book "Where the Action Is!" with '50s rock legend Freddy Cannon. And, in 2012 he had a huge international sensation with the book "Whitney Houston! The Spectacular Rise and the Tragic Fall of the Woman Whose Voice Inspired a Generation," as well as an updated version of his book "Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul."

His show business biographies have included the life stories of some of the biggest stars of ROCK (Elton John, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, Three Dog Night, Billy Joel), SOUL (Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston), POP (Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, Sade, Barry Manilow), and COUNTRY (George Strait, Patsy Cline, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill). He has also written about film and television stars as well (Rock Hudson, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Matt Damon, The Marx Brothers.

One of the most exciting books of Bego's career is his 2009 biography "Elton John: The Bitch is Back." The book was released in June of 2009 by Hannibal books of Austria. Published in the German language under the title "Elton John: Die Story," it has been heralded in the media as "the ultimate Elton John" biography by "Manner Magazine." In England and Australia it was published under the title "The Elton John Story" from JR Books in London. In addition it has been published in Denmark and in Russia as well.

Thanks to Hannibal Books, in 2009 Mark had a great year in German language bookstores. As he explains it, "Not only has Hannibal published my 'Elton John: Die Story,' they also published the German language reprint of my Tina Turner book, under the title 'Tina Turner: Die Biographie.' In addition, they also published a German language exclusive: 'Whitney Houston: Die Biographie.'" All three books are available internationally through German Amazon.com and they are also distributed to bookstores throughout Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The Whitney and Tina books were released in October 2009.

Mark is at work on his next book, due in 2013. It is a top-secret project about the life of an internationally acclaimed country music superstar.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By derrick Bogan on September 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading Ms. Frankin's lackluster autobiography, it was almost refreshing to read an unbiased account of the legendary life and career of this soul matriarch. This book is very detailed in tracking the career of Ms. Franklin and tells of the accolades as well as the lowpoints in her career. I found most comical the section in relation to Aretha's infamous fashion sense, but ultimately appauled by that tasteless photo of her in a one peice bathing suit with fishnet stockings showing her backside in concert. How disgusting was that!
I, too, hailed the Queen after her riveting performance of "Nessum Dorma" on the 1998 Grammys and I continue to follow her career in hopes that her legacy continues to be upheld with the upmost respect. I hope that in twenty years, the author can add another update of amazing accomplishments to this edition. Good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a great disappointment! Bego's sequel to The Queen of Soul happens to be nothing more than what he clips from past articles! If you value your money, don't buy this book. Because all you will read is his first book on her and just old articles about her.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Danniray99 on November 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Bego's bio of the Queen of Soul is largely a rehash of other articles, reviews, etc. previously published about Aretha Franklin, although he does uncover a few behind-the-scenes tidbits here and there. Mr. Bego is obviously a big fan of Ms. Franklin and he wears several hats throughout the book: fashion critic, music and concert reviewer, and general arbiter of style and personal taste. Indeed, Bego is not afraid to criticize the Queen for her often disastrous and horribly embarrassing forays into fashion--in one photograph, the Queen of Soul is dressed in a one-piece bathing suit and glittery fishnet stockings, showing off her hefty backside to the audience--this is a photo that will at once make you cringe and laugh! (I also remember a TV clip of her in a black tutu, white tights and ballet slippers while covering Vanessa Williams' hit "Save the Best for Last" ). Mr. Bego's writing, however, is often silly, slipshod and redundant--just barely competent enough to hold one's attention.

Nevertheless, Mr. Bego's portrait of Ms. Franklin reveals an enormously talented, engaging musician who is nonetheless sad, sloppy and undisciplined in almost every other area of her life. Bego provides salacious details and commentary about her relatively well-off but tragic childhood (her father was notorious and wealthy, a street-wise and worldly preacher man who financed her first forays into secular music, but her mother abandoned the family and died before Ms. Franklin was 10); her shocking, early-teen motherhood (she gave birth to her first child at age 13 and had two more children before she was 18!); her legendary weight problems; her serial romantic failures and her failure to promptly pay creditors. Mr. Bego's book is probably the best we can do for now, since Ms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Now in an updated and expanded edition, Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul is the compelling and inspiring biography of one of the most amazing, remarkable singers with a five-octave voice. The many challenges Aretha Franklin has faced in her life, from parental abandonment to the illness of her sister, are candidly recounted, along with her will to survive and prosper, which can clearly be heard in her soul-stirring music. Highly recommended reading for students of twentieth century American music history, as well as a "must" for all Aretha Franklin fans.
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