Friday, January 30, 2009

Old School Friday: King vs.The Queen

This week the Old School Friday theme is original vs. remake. My choices are tricky. Both Carole King and Aretha Franklin recorded Natural Woman, but the question is whose version is truly the original? Carole King recorded the song after Aretha made it a hit, but it's King's song. She co-wrote "Natural Woman" with Gerry Goffin.

Aretha recorded "Natural Woman" in 1967 and it became her signature song. King did not record this classic that she'd co-written until 1971. (Song's history)

I'm a fan of both singers. I wore Carole King's Tapestry album out, but I know why Aretha is the Queen of soul. If I had to vote, then for me Aretha is the original because she recorded it first, but King's recording gives us a beautiful interpretation showing how the songwriter feels her own music. She was brave to record the song after Aretha had already done it, sort of like recording a song after it's had the Luther treatment.

Here's Aretha.


Here's Carole King.


And, as mentioned in the song's history at Wikipedia, Mary J. Blige recorded "Natural Woman as well in 1995. You can view her version here, which is similar to Aretha's version.

Carole King also wrote the classic "You've Got a Friend," which has been recorded by multiple stars.

The creators of the Old School Friday meme are Mrs. Grapevine and The Marvalous View and has these rules, if you want to join the party.

Other participants:

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; ;

14 comments:

Revvy Rev said...

For me, it is Aretha, hands down. Aretha seems to make the song her own and sets the tone for all who come after her. I like Mary J., but not particularly her take on the old school stuff.

ShAé - ShAé said...

Definitely Aretha. She reigns supreme as the Queen.

SjP said...

I'm with you on Carole King's Tapestry album. Love it! But I gotta go with Aretha's rendition on Natural Woman.

Great picks!

Vérité Parlant said...

Oh, yes. It's Aretha. She's always gonna win, which is why I said Carol King was brave to record the song after Aretha did it.

The only person I can think of who gives Aretha a run for her money is Patti LaBelle.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you all for the visit. :-)

Marvalus said...

I don't know why anyone would try to sing a song after Aretha, or Patti, or Luther have sang it first...

Nice choice!

Regina said...

I see that I am definitely the minority here because in this instance I prefer the King rendition. Maybe it was the occasion but Aretha seemed to rush the song along a bit. King just seemed to embrace and emerse herself in it.
great choice!

Vivrant Thang said...

I'm a huge fan of most of Mary's remakes but and I think she did the song definite justice. But this still belongs to Mama Riri. I don't like Carol's version at all. I turned it off after the first few notes.

MrsGrapevine said...

when Mary J Blige do remakes, it sounds just like the original. She doesn't even put her Mary spin on it.

I like Aretha because of the soul, Carole King's version is not bad, but Aretha just owns it.

GARDENMAKERS NW said...

Hello people,
Urgent need for correction is needed here
FYI, Carole recorded this first and here it is.
http://caroleking.cocolog-nifty.com/way_over_yonder/2007/12/kcrw_radio_new_.html

Click on Natural Woman...I hope you can open this.

A King fan.

GARDENMAKERS NW said...

I'm going to have to break the news to you all. Carole King recorded this Natural Woman first.
Go here, and click on natural Woman to hear Carole do it first.

http://caroleking.cocolog-nifty.com:80/way_over_yonder/2007/12/kcrw_radio_new_.html

GARDENMAKERS NW said...

I'm hoping that the link that I provided works for you all..if not, let me know and I can try another way for you all to hear the original recording of Natural Woman which she recorded 10 years before Tapestry came out.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thank you, GNW, but the conversation is based on when artists officially recorded and released songs not when they recorded them in the studio for demo, etc.

Since King is a songwriter and co-wrote "Natural Woman" before anyone recorded it for release, no one disputes that she must've sang "Natural Woman" at sometime before Aretha Franklin.

King didn't record "Natural Woman" herself for release until 1971 on her Tapestry album at which time any purchaser could buy her version. Franklin recorded and released the song as a single in 1968 and it became her signature song.

King's fame and acclaim is based more on songwriting than singing even though I personally like her renditions of her own songs, including her version of "You've Got A Friend," another one of the many hits she penned but was made more popular by another singer, James Taylor (another singer-songwriter).

GARDENMAKERS NW said...

Yes, but your readers still should be informed that the actual recording of this tune that is always associated with Miss Franklin, was recorded, yes, albiet a demo, by Carole. Sorry for the reduntant nature of my posts...I wasn't sure I was doing this correctly and I do hope you can listen to the demo. Carole was just a teen and I thought you'd enjoy it. There is a huge backstory to this song. Very interesting stuff.
You have a very nice blog BTW.