One song and one song only was sung in its entirety during the Aretha Franklin tribute at the 2019 Grammy Awards. But with strong voices leading the way, the performance became a major highlight of the night.
Singer Andra Day, gospel star Yolanda Adams, and R&B mainstay Fantasia Barrino-Taylor combined with solo moments and strong harmony to bring the audience home with “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” standing simply side-by-side to celebrate the Queen of Soul.
The powerful groove needed no introduction, and arrived at the tail end of the annual In Memoriam tribute video, which featured dozens of departed artists, musicians, and music industry executives.
There were other nods to Franklin during the ceremony, including a whispered riff on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” by Dua Lipa and St. Vincent mere minutes before.
(And while her hit single “Make Me Feel” more readily smacks of another beloved icon — Prince — Janelle Monae’s track refrain also deeply bows to “Natural Woman.”)
Some fans could’ve used more Aretha, though.
Franklin died on Aug. 16, 2018, at the age of 76. She was just 18 years old in 1960 when she set out to become a professional singer.