On December 8, a day that was already sad enough by virtue of being the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, we got the terrible news that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, is suffering from cancer. The news was closely followed by commentary from the Perfect People. Those are the people who felt it necessary to express their sadness while at the same time commenting that it was not unexpected given that Aretha is overweight. Fuck them. In these hard times, when we are all feeling the pressure of nearly overwhelming problems in this world, Aretha Franklin remains a brilliant light in the darkness. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
In 1967, Stevie Wonder, along with Clarence Paul and Morris Broadnax, wrote the indelible anthem of romantic longing “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).” Oddly, Stevie’s original version didn’t appear on one of his albums until the Anthology collection in 1977. By that time the song was well known to everyone because in 1973 Aretha Franklin released her cover version on Atlantic Records. It was a smash, reaching #1 on Billboard’s R&B Chart, and #3 on the Hot 100.
The single was part of the highly successful Let Me In Your Life album that Aretha produced along with Jerry Wexler. The album was released in February, 1974, and spawned two other hit singles (“I’m In Love,” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”), but Aretha would not have another Top Ten hit until she scored with “Freeway of Love” in 1985.
In 2005, as a part of the Lady Soul show, Aretha performed the song with its writer, Stevie Wonder. Here is a video of that performance. It is, as you might imagine, breathtaking.
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