This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #498: Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin.
Oh…….My…….Goodness!!! It’s the Queen of Soul Herself, Aretha Franklin!!!!! She of the 18 Grammy Awards and 44 nominations! In 1987, she became the first female ever inducted to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Finally, over the course of her illustrious career, she has amassed the second highest total of R & B record sales in history (next to Whitney Houston). Yes, that Aretha Franklin!
Aretha Franklin was having hit records when I was still learning to talk. “Chain of Fools” is a prime example of Lady Soul at her fiercest and finest. This song is about a wife discovering that her husband has been unfaithful to her and that, in fact, she is just one of many “links on his chain”, making her and the other women “a chain of fools”. As is often the case, this song mirrors Franklin’s real life. When it was first released in 1968 (when I was 4 years old), Franklin was involved in an abusive marriage and was just summoning the courage to do something positive about her situation. So, when you listen to this song, listen to the power and conviction with which she sings about betrayal and heartbreak. What a voice! Clean, clear, unwavering and, most of all, powerful beyond measure.
Aretha Franklin is widely regarded as one of Music’s finest talents. The depth and breadth of the respect accorded her has been well-earned. In a career marked by excellence and durability, there are none better than the Queen of Soul Herself, Aretha Franklin!
***PS: the guitar work in this video is excellent, too. Crank this video and sing along. It will free your soul on this beautiful day.
The video for Chain of Fools can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for inspiring this post. The link to their website is here.
For those who wish to know even more about Aretha Franklin, the link to her website an be found here.