In the 1960’s, the main ingredients of soul music were elements
of gospel & rhythm and blues. Its musical powers expressed an
inner spiritual outcry from the black community that generated a
connection in the civil rights movement. It became so explosive,
it linked revolutionized minds around
the world. The music was self-explanatory, the artists were our
One of the founding leaders of this music revolution was the
Godfather of Soul, the late great James Brown. His energy on
stage was raw, unpolished and unadulterated. His presence was
pure dynamite, selling out concerts wherever he appeared.
Another was the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.
Louise Bishop, a legendary disc jockey from WDAS in
Philadelphia, informed Atlantic Records executive, Jerry Wexler
that Aretha Franklin’s 6 year contract with Columbia Records
expired. Jerry immediately contacted Aretha and her former
husband / manager Ted White, to set up a meeting in his New York
office. 24 year old Aretha Franklin signed the historical
contact in Nov 1966 that would forever change the course of
Wexler had plans to take Aretha to Stax Records in Memphis,
Tenn. But Jim Stewart, president of the label, rejected his
offer, so another option was to travel down to Rick Hall’s Fame
Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. It turned out to be a
blessing from God. The session took place on Tuesday, January
24, 1967. The musicians selected were members of the Fame Gang.
Spooner Oldham on organ and electric piano, Jimmy Johnson and
songwriter Chips Moman on guitars, the late Tommy Cogbill on
bass, Roger Hawkins and Gene Chrisman on drums, Melvin Lastie,
Ken Laxton and Ernie Royal on trumpets, Charlie Chalmers, Joe
Arnold and the late great King Curtis on saxophones, Willie
Bridges on baritone sax, and the late Arif Mardin on vibes.
Out of 11 selected tunes, the first song recorded was a
composition by a native of Detroit, the late Ronnie Shannon,
entitled, ‘I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)’. A rough
demo was played over the loud speakers in the studio but the
musicians weren't thrilled about it. The players began
fiddling around with their instruments trying to figure out what
to come up with. Spooner Oldham came up with an idea formulating
a repeated pattern on his Wurlitzer piano. Inspiration soon
followed as the merry musicians began to develop a feel for the
song. After listening to a playback, they knew a masterpiece was
As work began to take shape on a Dan Penn/ Chips Moman song ‘Do
Right Man, Do Right Woman’, trouble brewed between Ted White and
sax player, Ken Laxton, after a drinking spree. The next day,
Aretha and her husband headed back to Detroit, leaving Jerry
Wexler with one finished song. He sent acetates to local radio
station as a test pattern. The
reaction was overwhelming. Dee jays were asking for the
record. He was stunned. Jerry was desperate and after a 3 week
search for Aretha, she finally contacted him and the recording
schedule resumed. On Wednesday, February 8, the Muscle Shoals
musicians along with Aretha her sisters Carolyn and Erma
Franklin and Cissy Houston, headed for the Atlantic studios in
New York to first work on a King Curtis LP, ‘King Curtis Plays
The Great Memphis Hits’ (No 11 R&B LP June 24, 1967) then stayed
on board for a few days extra to record the ‘I Never Loved A
Man’ album. Aretha’s vocals on ‘Do Right Man, Do Right Woman
A composition written by King Curtis, Aretha and her sister
Carolyn entitled ‘Save Me’ was the first song cut on the album
(Feb 8). 5 songs were added six days later on Tuesday Feb 14.
‘Respect’ ‘Drown In My Own Tears’ ‘Don't Let Me Lose This
Dream’, ‘Baby, Baby Baby’ and the Sam Cooke 65’ classic, 'A
Change Is Gonna Come’. The last 3 songs ‘Soul Serenade’ a remake
of the 1964 King Curtis instrumental with added lyrics, ‘Dr
Feelgood’ and the bouncy Sam Cooke number, ‘Good Times’
were laid on Wednesday Feb 15.
Atlantic’s top engineer the late Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin served
as the arrangers and supervised the direction of the selections
featured on the album.
Released Friday March 10, ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved
You’ LP (charted No. 1 R&B LP No. 2 Pop April 29). It remained
on the album charts for an astonishing 49 weeks! The self-titled
single ‘I Never Loved A Man’ debuted at the (No 1 position on
the R&B singles chart March 25 1967). The flipside ‘Do Right
Woman-Do Right Man’ hit (No. 37 R&B April 17).
Aretha would gain international fame and earn her title as the
‘Queen of Soul’ with a makeover of Otis Redding’s 1965 classic
hit ‘Respect’ Her version sparked a universal anthem creating
terms of self-dignity, whether the subject was based on women’s
rights or race relations. King Curtis played tenor sax solo
during the song’s middle key change borrowed from Sam & Dave’s
classic 67’ smash ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’.
Aretha, Carolyn and Erma added the memorable ‘sock it to me’
catchphrase towards the song’s testimonial ending.
‘Respect’ b/w ‘Dr. Feelgood’ charted (No 1 on the R&B singles
charts historically the week ending Sat May 20, 1967). ‘Dr.
Feelgood’ a bluesy sexual stimulating composition by Aretha and
Ted White, describe the tale of this lady not depending on
prescribed pharmaceuticals to gain a climatic soul satisfaction
but relying on her companion to provide a dose of Vitamin D as a
‘I Never Loved A Man’ LP remains a certified classic that stands
the test of time. This landmark album continues to embrace many
music fanatics throughout this generation, not regional
but global. Aretha’s electrifying performance in 1967 reign her
supreme as the monarch of the musical throne that will never
tarnish but forever represent an element of everlasting
gold of pure soul.
Lady Soul….Happy 40th…I never loved a woman the way I love you.
(Chancellor of Soul)
Materials should not be used or altered without the
expressed permission of the author, Mike Boone,
Chancellor of Soul.