Erma Franklin – American Gospel & Soul Singer
Erma Franklin – While most of the success went to her sister Aretha, she was just as gifted as her sisters. While her career was sporadic throughout the 60s, she’s best known for the song “Piece of My Heart. Later, a huge hit for Janis Joplin who made it her signature song with a different arrangement.
Born in Shelby MS, she moves around a lot with her family to Memphis, then to Buffalo where she begins performing in church at age 5 and finally Detroit. In High School she performs with a vocal group call the Cleo-Patrettes which become pretty popular. Later, they record with a small Detroit label called JVB.
Shortly after high school, the band goes their separate ways. Erma begins touring with her father’s gospel group for two years and begins college shortly after.
Her Recording Career
Despite Aretha’s success, Erma manages to record quite a nice musical catalog of songs and records. But for some reason her career is scuttled by label fiascoes. Despite this, Erma Franklin wears the family name well. Just as great as Aretha in interpreting songs. Just listen to her versions of songs her sister also recorded, Baby, I Love You and Son of a Preacher Man.
And in the case of the latter, listen to her version and compare it to Dusty Springfield’s. Which some consider the definitive recording. I think all of the versions represent the song quite well. Erma’s version is vibrant with a deep soulful sound that allows her version to stand on its own beside these other versions. Not in contrast.
While she was singing backup for Aretha, she had her own voice that is completely different from her sisters. Furthermore, she could reach the same octaves as well as her siblings could.
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