In August of last year, we lost a legend. Aretha Franklin, a.k.a the “Queen of Soul,” passed away at age 76 from pancreatic cancer, following her retirement from touring and making music the previous year. It was a monumental loss felt in the music industry and beyond. Since then, writers, fans and fellow artists have continued to share words of love for the singer, who was arguably one of the greatest vocalists in the history of pop music.
Today (Jan. 24), there’s yet another reason to shine a light on Aretha, and we’ll take any excuse to talk about her illustrious career and music. On this day in 1972, Franklin released her essential, Grammy-winning album, Young, Gifted and Black, which gets its title from Nina Simone’s 1970 song, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” A year or so after its arrival, the undisputedly gifted Franklin performed tracks from that record at a set during the Newport Jazz Festival in Uniondale, N.Y., at the Nassau Coliseum. You can listen to the recordings below thanks to the Paste vault.
Aretha opens her set with an upbeat hit from Young, Gifted and Black, the invigorating “Rock Steady.” She then rolls into another number from that record, “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool for You Baby),” originally a song by the British artist Lulu made all the more passionate by Franklin. Later, she slows things down for the sensual “Day Dreaming,” what would later become her 12th hit soul single. Throughout the set, Franklin commands everything—the stage, crowd and band—with the empowered grace and feverish intensity only she could supply.
Again, you can listen to Aretha Franklin’s 1973 concert below. While you’re at it, read our list of her best songs, and our tribute to the peerless soul singer. Further down, watch a 1971 Aretha Franklin performance via the Paste archives.