LP & CD Boxed Set Includes Five Classic Aretha Franklin Albums Plus Bonus Material of Session Alternates, Outtakes, and Demos. Original Albums Remastered From the Original Analog Master Tapes by GRAMMY Award-Winning Engineers Chris Bellman (LP) and Michael Graves (CD) and produced by GRAMMY Award- Winning Producer Cheryl Pawelski. Features Extensive Liner Notes from Billboard’s Gail Mitchell and British Ambassador of Soul David Nathan

5-CD / 6-LP Limited Edition Available Worldwide December 1

LONDON – (Oct 19, 2023) – BMG announces the release of the Aretha Franklin boxed set, A Portrait Of The Queen, featuring five classic albums from the early ‘70s, plus bonus material of session alternates, outtakes, B-sides, and demos. The limited 6-LP/5-CD collection, out December 1, is now available for pre-order here.

The set features the Lady Soul’s five original studio albums from the first half of the ‘70s – This Girl’s In Love With You, Spirit In The Dark, Young, Gifted And Black, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) and Let Me In Your Life – and tracks her evolution as a singer/songwriter, showcases the fearlessness of her craft freely exploring genres and sounds, experimenting with writing and arranging various types of songs.

The CD set includes bonus material collecting session alternates, outtakes, B-sides, and demos compiled with their accompanying albums, while the LP set includes a sixth LP of highlights from the bonus material.

The albums in both the vinyl and CD sets are remastered from the original analog master tapes by GRAMMY Award-winning engineers Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and Michael Graves at Osiris Studio, respectively. Produced by GRAMMY Award-winning Cheryl Pawelski, the sets boasts extensive liner notes from Billboard’s Gail Mitchell and the British Ambassador of Soul David Nathan

By the time This Girl’s In Love With You was released on January 15, 1970, Aretha had completed over 80 recordings in just three years for Atlantic Records. Her 16th studio album, and eighth for Atlantic Records, reached Billboard’s Top 20 and includes her version of The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” which was the first recording of the song to be commercially issued—The Beatles release as a single came in March 1970. The album also includes The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby,” The Band’s “The Weight,” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.”

Released August 24, 1970, Spirit In The Dark was really a concept album, featuring two hit singles, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” which peaked at #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart and #11 on the Hot 100, and the title track at #3 R&B and #23 Hot 100. Produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin, the album also features B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm section with an appearance by Duane Allman

A lifelong civil and women’s rights activist, Aretha addressed the era’s Black Power movement with her 18th album, Young, Gifted And Black, released January 24, 1972. Climbing to #2 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA shortly after release. Featuring The Delfonics’ “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time,” her self-penned “Day Dreaming” and “Rock Steady,” and the title track, which was originally recorded by its composer Nina Simone. Aretha won the 1972 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

Originally conceived as a jazz project by co-producers Aretha and Quincy Jones, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) featured her #1 R&B and Top 20 single, “Angel,” written by Aretha’s sister, as well as Stephen Sondheim’s “Somewhere” from the Broadway musical West Side Story, which features Aretha on piano.

As one of her top-selling albums for Atlantic Records, Let Me In Your Life was Aretha’s 20th album rand released on February 25, 1974. The album yielded three hits: “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” “I’m In Love,” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.”

With an unmatched, church-bred voice, the Detroit-raised daughter of a preacher man was an 18-time GRAMMY Award winner the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Often overlooked as a piano-playing virtuoso, Elton John noted to Billboard in 2003, “She is the greatest soul singer ever—and one of the most underrated pianists.”