Revisiting Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing' return to gospel

November 23, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(AP/Ricardo Thomas)
Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace' was recorded at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

After years of commercial success on top of the soul charts, the preacher’s daughter returned to her religious roots.

In January of 1972, Aretha Franklin—known as the Queen of Soul—got back to gospel.

She put on a pair of concerts at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. A recording was made of those two nights which resulted in her best-selling album of all time, Amazing Grace.

Author Aaron Cohen explores the seminal gospel album in his new book, Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace (33 1/3).

He recently spoke with WBEZ’s Richard Steele, who began by asking Cohen why Aretha’s move to record a gospel album was such a big one.