Former bandmate of Aretha Franklin says she was the best they had ever seen

Posted at 10:18 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 22:55:21-04

We continue to remember the remarkable life of the Queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.

Franklin paved the way for so many artists. One of her longtime former bandmates, Larry Fratangelo, says she was more than just a singer –  she was a revolutionary. 

"She had the first instrument like no one else that I’ve ever worked with," Fratangelo said.

 He worked with Franklin for 10 years, from 1985 to 1995.

"She was strong in many ways, as you know, with the civil rights movement to musically," he said. "Her perfection, I just think set the standard that people could just strive for."

Fratangelo says when Franklin took the stage, she made everyone in the audience feel like they were in her living room, getting an up close and personal performance.

"I think that people felt she was singing directly to them, no matter where you were in that place," Fratangelo said.

One of his fondest memories was on tour in New York City when Franklin was playing at Radio City Music Hall. She went shopping on 5th Avenue then decided on food from the Russian tea room, only thing, she wanted it to go. 

"On the bus comes all the waiters with china, silver, linen just like we’re in the Russian tea room, setting us up on the bus because the Queen is not going to eat off paper plates," Fratangelo said.

Aretha may have passed on, but she laid the track for other artists to inspire, grow and leave behind a legacy of their own.

"It was maybe the pinnacle of my career," Fratangelo said. "I would say to be able to do that with Aretha Franklin, God bless you, I love you."

After speaking with Franklin's former bandmates, they all say the same thing – she was a lovable soul that gave so much to her music, her fans and family. The queen of soul will forever live on.