History has come to treat this Atlantic Records release as Aretha’s debut album, but that is ridiculous.
Franklin had been signed to Columbia Records since 1961, where she released no less than nine albums (only three of them ever charted on Billboard’s Top 200 chart) and numerous singles, with only one reaching the top 40 (a rather incongruous version of “Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”). As a mainstream label that catered to middle America, Columbia had no idea how to market Aretha, and spent over five years trying to mold her to be something she wasn’t. The label had a serious aversion to rock and roll and did not want to sully its image with rhythm and blues, so it pushed her toward light jazz and pop songs, with little success.
When they finally let her go, Jerry Wexler’s Atlantic Records knew what his competition had done wrong, and intended to fix it. “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” is the result of his insight, and the label was rewarded with a huge hit album, even bigger hot singles, and a superstar whose career literally defined soul music for the next five years.
Featured tracks include;
1) You Made Me Love You (Columbia release)
2) Rockabye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody (Columbia)
4) Drown in My Own Tears
5) I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)
6) Soul Serenade
7) Don’t Let Me Lose Tis Dream
8) Baby, Baby, Baby
9) Dr. Feelgood
10) Good Times
11) Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
12) Save Me
13) A Change Is Gonna Come
March 1967 - Billboard Charted #2
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