Aretha Franklin’s Early ’70s Albums to be Reproduced in Vinyl and CD Box Set

Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, is getting a proper tribute to some of the most influential years in her decades-long career: a box set of her albums from 1970 to 1974, available on vinyl and CD on December 1 through BMG.

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A Portrait of the Queen 1970-1974 will be available as either a 6 LP or 5 CDdepending on the purchase optionbox set consisting of Franklin’s studio albums from those years. The set also features 11 bonus songs and rare recordings, according to a report from Pitchfork. The five albums included are:

  • This Girl’s In Love With You (1970)
  • Spirit in the Dark (1970)
  • Young, Gifted, and Black (1972)
  • Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) (1973)
  • Let Me In Your Life (1974)

In 1994, Franklin put out an album titled The Very Best of Aretha Franklin: The 70s that highlighted some of her biggest hits from that decade. It included songs like “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “Rock Steady,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” While that album is a great introduction to Franklin’s influence in the ’70s, it doesn’t come close to what A Portrait of the Queen provides fans: a complete early ’70s collection, from her most popular tracks to cult favorites.

[RELATED: Exclusive Interview: Jennifer Hudson Talks Aretha Franklin and ‘Respect’]

Her rendition of Nina Simone’s “(To Be) Young, Gifted, and Black” from 1972 is one of her most outstanding performances, for example, that is absent from the 1994 album. Franklin reimagined the song with her heavily gospel-influenced style, drawing out the staccato beats of Simone’s original and significantly smoothing it out to fit her far-reaching voice. The song transitions into a groovy soul track that highlights Franklin’s exceptional vocal strength and control. That exceptional talent is what made her the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, what made her the inspiration for aspiring soul singers, and what turned her into the irrefutable Queen of Soul.

The set is available for pre-order now through Rough Trade, Amazon, or Target. On vinyl, the collection starts at $299.99 according to Rough Trade, and $69.99 on CD. For any fan of Aretha Franklin, those price points seem worth it for the sheer amount of music you’ll receive. The vinyl collection is reportedly limited to 1,500 copies, and fans are only allowed to purchase up to three copies of both the vinyl and CD versions.

Photo by Ross Marino/Getty Images

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