When Aretha Franklin held court, it was always on her terms.
A lifetime of quirky concert demands and reworking of other musicians’ tunes showed the always-glamorous mezzo-soprano was a diva not to be trifled with.
For one thing, Franklin made her bandmates sweat — and not just because they were next to R&B royalty. Franklin’s standard concert rider insisted that air-conditioning vents in her dressing room and on stage be taped shut to preserve her voice.
“I feel air,” she once groused about a draft at the Apollo Theater in Harlem before storming offstage mid-song in 1971, according to Vanity Fair.
Then there’s the $25,000 in cash — only a slice of her actual artist’s fee — she demanded ahead of every show and Franklin’s insistence on never staying above any hotel’s fifth floor.
That demand may have been related to Franklin’s fear of flying — a fear that also had the Queen of Soul touring in a custom bus.
Franklin also rarely gave interviews and famously sang an extra-long five-minute version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a 2016 Detroit Lions game.
“Aretha Franklin is pretty far up at the top of the list of folks who can take however long they want with the national anthem,” ESPN’s Dan Graziano tweeted.
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