Before an artist plays arenas, they typically play clubs and bars until their big break comes along. For just over 30 years, American Bandstand was the launching pad for many careers. From the King of Pop to Mr. Mojo Risin’, the country would be introduced to groundbreaking music, courtesy of the Dick Clark powered program.
But it was in 1962 when America would not only be introduced to a voice for the ages, it would also become reacquainted with a classic love song.
A 20-year-old Aretha Franklin would make her first appearance in front of a nationally televised audience on American Bandstand on August 2, 1962. She would perform two songs that day; “Don’t Cry, Baby” from her third studio album The Tender, The Moving, The Swinging Aretha Franklin and a classic love song originally recorded in 1932, “Try a Little Tenderness.”
Following Franklin’s performance of “Try a Little Tenderness,” the song would take on new life, being covered by many notable artists. The track became a staple during soul legend Sam Cooke‘s live shows, even making it onto his live LP from 1964, Sam Cooke at the Copa. The love song would be given a spin by dozens of other artists, including Rod Stewart, Etta James, Tina Turner and Three Dog Night.
“Try a Little Tenderness” has even found it’s way into the 21st Century; Michael Bublé featured it on his third live album Caught in the Act (2005). The Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods classic would also make appearances on television, appearing on Fox’s musical comedy-drama GLEE and as American Idol Season 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez’s choice during “Songs from Now & Then” week.
Of course, “Try a Little Tenderness” and her appearance on American Bandstand on August 2, 1962 did more for Aretha Franklin’s career than any other. During her 50+ year vocation, she would be the recipient of 18 GRAMMY Awards, accumulate dozens of Top 10 singles and, of course, be enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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