Photo credits: TIME Magazine
In 1968, Aretha Franklin issued three albums. In January, Franklin’s Lady Soul album spawned “Chain of Fools.”
This was a diss song directed at an ex-boyfriend, which might also be seen as a critique of men who would rather follow mindlessly than take the initiative. Aretha Now was released in the summer. In the song “Think” from that album, Franklin transformed the phrase “Freedom, oh freedom!” into a rebellious chant; insisting on the advancement of a cause at any costs.
Between the release of Lady Soul and Aretha Now, the killing of Martin Luther King Jr. left a scar on America’s soul that never did heal. However, Franklin’s song—that entire album—served as a balm for a shattered country. Franklin’s career grew throughout the year and she ended it with a live LP.
When the editorial board of TIME places a person on the cover of its magazine, it is one of the biggest signs in the U.S. that they have grown bigger than life. The Music History Calendar claims that Franklin was the subject of a TIME Magazine cover story on June 28, 1968, a year in which her legendary career was reaching new heights.
The Sound of Soul is the title of Franklin’s uncommon TIME issue.