Aretha Franklin – Another Night
1985 saw the legendary Aretha Franklin well into the third distinct phase of her career. Starting out in 1961 as a gospel artist on Columbia Records, her move to Atlantic in 1967 saw her become the queen of soul, amassing a huge catalogue of stone cold classics and massive hits. The arrival of disco quelled her fire somewhat, but Aretha had another trick up her sleeve, and proved that re-invention wasn’t a trick that arrived with Madonna.
Signing with Clive Davis‘s Arista Records in 1980, this period saw the emergence of a turbo-charged Aretha, and it produced some of the best work of her career – unashamedly poppy, ballsy as hell, defiant and joyous. While Janet Jackson was still a year away from Control, here was a woman already firmly in charge. Some people get a bit sniffy about the whole Arista era, as if it somehow detracted from her soul queen status, but these are the same people who have never been the same since Bob Dylan picked up an electric guitar. Ignore them.
Another Night was the fourth single from 1985’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who? album, and the fourth absolute banger in a row, following Freeway of Love, the title track, and Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves. By this point you might have expected a tender ballad, but Aretha was in full-on kick-ass mode. Every track seems designed for her to hurtle down the road astride a massive Harley Davidson leaving a trail of disappointed men in her wake. The greatest moment in this song comes at 3:27, and Aretha’s declaration “My man! I don’t need you to be bringing me down – HEY!” – it’s especially effective in the video, where she sticks it to her man and pretty much invents sass. Awesome.
Strangely, the UK didn’t take to any of this particularly well – Sisters had cracked the top ten due to the Eurythmics factor, but Who’s Zoomin’ Who? made a disappointing no.11 and nothing else troubled the top 40 – in fact her entire 27 year Arista career produced only 5 UK hits – I suspect their entire marketing budget for female black artists went on Whitney Houston.
Entered chart: 16/02/1986
Chart peak: 54
Weeks on chart: 6
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Ooh, imagine Rihanna (in Shut Up and Drive mode) having a go.