Download Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin Audiobook

Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin Audiobook, by David Ritz Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Ritz Narrator: Brad Raymond Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2014 ISBN: 9781478982999
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The definitive biography of the “Queen of Soul” from acclaimed music writer David Ritz

Aretha Franklin began life as the golden daughter of a progressive and promiscuous Baptist preacher. Raised without her mother, she was a gospel prodigy who gave birth to two sons in her teens and left them and her native Detroit for New York, where she struggled to find her true voice. It was not until 1967, when a white Jewish producer insisted she return to her gospel-soul roots that fame and fortune finally came via the song “Respect” and a rapid-fire string of hits. She has evolved ever since, amidst personal tragedy, surprise Grammy performances, and career reinventions.

Again and again, Aretha stubbornly finds a way to triumph over troubles, even as they continue to build. Her hold on the crown is tenacious, and in Respect, David Ritz gives us the definitive life of one of the greatest talents in American culture.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Only someone who had the complete confidence and trust of Aretha's family and the elite of the Gospel and Rhythm and Blues communities could have gotten this story. An intimate and thorough account of this phenomenal woman's talent and life as only David Ritz could capture. Tommy LiPuma, Grammy-winning producer
  • A bumpy and delicious ride.... Read Respect with a YouTube-playing device near at hand to experience Aretha in a hundred shades of glorious. Claude Peck, Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Ritz's intimate and elegant voice steps from behind the veil of the ghostwriter to tell a tale of genius, dysfunction and blind ambition, describing a world of triumph and tragedy of near mythic proportions. A great read and a really heroic work of biography -- honest, loving, no holds barred. Ben Sidran, author of There Was a Fire
  • The monumental biography we've been waiting for of Lady Soul, our greatest soul singer, from the also very great David Ritz, confidante to an entire generation of soul stars -- Ray, Smokey, B.B., Etta, Marvin, etcetera. He is The Man. This is The Book. Joel Selvin, author of Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues
  • This far surpasses David Ritz's landmark study of Marvin Gaye. People will be reading Respect generations from now to understand our musical culture. Ritz deserves a lifetime achievement award for "Most Soul Full Account of America's Music. Charles Keil, ethnomusicologist, author of Urban Blues
  • An honest and genuinely respectful portrait of a true diva by a writer who feels the power of her art. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • "Respect judiciously captures the conflicted life of the legendary Queen of Soul.”


  • “A candid, far less sanitized look at the enormously gifted but demanding diva.”


  • “‘Ain’t no harm to moan,’ belted out fifteen-year-old Aretha Franklin to an adoring crowd. What few know is that, at the time, she was pregnant with her second child. What else don’t you know? Find out in this revealing biography.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “It’s a comprehensive, illuminating, and unfailingly solicitous account of a life that, whatever its tribulations, conflicts, and complications, has always somehow been redeemed by Franklin’s musical calling….[Ritz has] an exceptional capacity to listen with care and sympathy to what people tell him and then render their words vividly and compassionately.”

    USA Today

  • "[Ritz’s] research—based on interviews with Franklin’s siblings and departed legends from Ahmet Ertegun to Vandross—is solid, and he vividly expresses what made her voice and albums so monumental in the sixties.”

    Rolling Stone

  • "Respect will stand as one of Ritz’s greatest and most unusual achievements: a rich, definitive portrait set in motion by a bit of unfinished business.”

    New York Times

  • "Respect is a major biography and unauthorized in the extreme. Ritz has done well to recount the life as a whole.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • “The most comprehensive and accurate account of Franklin yet published.”

    Maclean’s (Toronto)

  • “An honest and genuinely respectful portrait of a true diva by a writer who feels the power of her art.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Narrator Brad Raymond does a great job of portraying the relatives and friends in her life who helped her succeed. Raymond’s cadence and inflections change as he switches from Cecil, her brother, to Carolyn and Erma, her sisters, as well as Ruth Bowen, her first manager. Aretha was a child prodigy…Raymond also captures her father, a strong, vibrant man who demanded much of Aretha. As narrator, Raymond takes the listener through every stage of Aretha’s triumphs and tragedies. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • An Oprah Pick of Ten Titles to Pick Up Now, December 2014
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

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About the Author

Robin Eller is a narrator, actress, singer, and dance educator. She has appeared on stage, in films, and on such television programs as The Bernie Mac Show, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, and General Hospital, as well as numerous commercials. As a dancer, she has traveled the world with the legendary James Brown.

About the Narrator

Brad Raymond is a narrator of audiobooks known for his Earphones Award–winning reading of Respect, the biography of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz, among others.