When record executives tried to mold Franklin's sound to their liking, her career sputtered. Then legendary producer Jerry Wexler came along. His approach? Stay out of her way.
Franklin, who has died aged 76 in Detroit, was a church girl first and foremost. She was the master of the gospel form.
For the enslaved Africans, music – rhythm in particular – became a tool of communication about their conditions. Later, it laid the foundation for spirituals and gospel songs.
As the African-American Music
Appreciation Month comes to a close, a scholar discusses the role of early preachers in shaping gospel music.