It was way back in 1980 that Steely Dan released “Hey Nineteen” with its lyric about the teenager who “don’t remember the Queen of Soul..”
That was of course just before Aretha Franklin launched her comeback with Clive Davis and Arista Records.
Kathie Lee Gifford made the point on the “Today Show” last week that today’s generation doesn’t know Franklin, which spurred a chiding email from the singer.
To recap: After we speculated here that maybe AI should consider adding Franklin, a fan of their show, as a judge, Roland Martin of CNN emailed her and she replied that yes, she’d be interested. That set off a media frenzy and Gifford commented on the “Today” show that Franklin was probably not the demographic AI producers are looking for.
Franklin shot back, stating that her audience ranged from “8 to 90,” that she had no problems traveling (in her luxury bus) and that Gifford needed to do a little research on who her audience is.
Gifford backtracked a little on Tuesday’s “Today” show.
“I need to apologize to a certain Miss Aretha apparently,” Gifford said.
“I meant this to be respectful. There is nobody in the world like Aretha Franklin, she is one of a kind. But my point was, some kids don’t know who Barbra Streisand is, who Sinatra is. They only know who’s been born in the last 10 years, and that upsets me.
“The reality is, we live in a world where, if it didn’t happen yesterday, people aren’t interested. And I find that a sad thing because there are people who have earned our respect for their accomplishments..but I don’t know if my own kids would know. That’s my fault.”
OK so, now’s the time for a few best-of CDs sent to the Gifford household to school those youngsters?