Saturday, August 31, 2019

"Jumpin' Jack Flash" by Aretha Franklin

Song#:  2877
Date:  09/27/1986
Debut:  61
Peak:  21
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock, R&B, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Franklin had a major career revival with her 1985 album Who's Zoomin' Who? and its #3 Pop/#1 R&B Grammy-winning hit "Freeway of Love." The album would be the first in Franklin's long career to receive a platinum certification. For its follow-up, Franklin decided to stay with Narada Michael Walden and together they came up with her thirty-first studio album, Aretha. To kick the album off, this cover tune would be issued out. In addition to being the LP's first single, it was also used over the end credits of the Whoopi Goldberg comedy flick Jumpin' Jack Flash. The track started off fairly well, but then lost momentum and stalled just shy of the Pop Top 20. At R&B, the tune was able to make the Top 20 - at #20. It wasn't too bad of a start, but Franklin was going to need a single to do better than this in order to keep album sales going. Her next single didn't really fit that bill, but the LP's third release would do the trick.

ReduxReview:  Franklin and Richards keep the rock elements of the song while adding more soul and R&B. Franklin also played piano on the track. As usual, she sounds great and rips it up at the end. Her take on the song is more relaxed than the urgent rock of the Stones' original. It's a solid take, but I'm not sure it was a great choice for a single. At the time folks were into Franklin's new brand of 80's R&B/dance-pop and this rock track didn't fit well alongside synth-driven tunes like "Freeway of Love." Still, it didn't perform too badly and it showed that Franklin could rock the house just as well as anyone else.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by The Rolling Stones. Their 1968 version was a #3 hit. It marked a return to their blues-rock roots after flirting with the psychedelic rock found on 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request. For Franklin's remake, Stones members Ron Wood and Keith Richards played guitar while Richards produced the track.  2) This track was recorded for the comedy film of the same name. It starred Whoopi Goldberg and it was her first role following her breakout performance in 1985's The Color Purple, for which she received an Oscar nod for Best Actress. The movie was also the directorial debut of Penny Marshall. Critics didn't like the film, but audiences showed up and it became a minor box office hit. The Stones' version of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" would be used in the film while Franklin's remake would play over the closing credits. However, when it came to the released soundtrack, only the Stones' original would be included. Franklin's version would be issued out as a single and placed on her new Aretha album.


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