Aretha Franklin Is 70
Not only did Aretha Franklin celebrate her 70th birthday, she announced a pretty impressive gift: she’s recording again with her mentor, Clive Davis.
“I have re-signed with Clive Davis,” Franklin told an interviewer before her birthday party on Saturday. “We’re going to sit together and decide what it is we’re going to record.”
Franklin’s birthday party, at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City, included a sit-down dinner and a dance performance. Diane Sawyer and the Rev. Al Sharpton attended, but Franklin stayed close to Davis throughout the evening.
Davis, a legendary producer and music executive, has worked with an extraordinary range of talent over the year. He’s overseen the careers of everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith, and he engineered Franklin’s comeback in the 1980s.
Franklin left Davis’ label, Arista Records, in 2004 to found her own label, but hasn’t matched the success of her career in her earlier days. It’s not known whether she’s re –signed with Arista.
But the evening wasn’t all about music. Franklin’s longtime boyfriend, Willie Wilkerson, stood by her side as the guests sang “Happy Birthday.” Asked whether the two might marry, Franklin said simply, “We’ll see what happens.”