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Musical Monday; R-E-S-P-E-C-T Aretha

October 15, 2018

In 1964 (before some of y"all were born!), a 22 year young Aretha Franklin sang in a song called “One Room Paradise” that she didn’t need to live in a castle or be showered with diamonds and pearls in order to be happy. A little one room apartment would be totally fine as long as she could be with the man she loved.

But, then, halfway through the tune, Aretha shifted gears and added a telling footnote: “Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold) / I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!).”

Welcome to Musical Monday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics.

Today’s tribute is dedicated to the Queen of Soul, who passed away recently in Detroit at the age of 76.

Written by John Leslie McFarland, “One Room Paradise” first appeared as the final track on Runnin’ Out Of Fools, Aretha's seventh studio album.

While the song’s character aspires to own something precious, Franklin — the star — absolutely loved her jewelry. She has been photographed throughout her career wearing gemstone earrings, long strands of cultured pearls, and of course diamond rings.

The first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1987), Franklin had earned 19 Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award  (1994). She scored 17 top 10 pop singles and 20 #1 R&B hits. She’s sold over 75 million records worldwide.

In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Franklin #1 on its list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.

Singer Mary J. Blige commented at the time, “Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing. Aretha has everything — the power, the technique. She is honest with everything she says.”

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Aretha Louise Franklin perfected her singing skills in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. By the age 18, in 1960, she was signed by Columbia Records. By the end of that decade, she had cemented her status as the “Queen of Soul.”

The lyrics of “One Room Paradise.”are below…

“One Room Paradise”
Written by John Leslie McFarland. Performed by Aretha Franklin.

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need)
And I don’t need no money (She don’t need, she don’t)
Some people live in castles with 60 or 70 rooms (She don’t)
Some people dream about a penthouse doll or a mansion on the moon

But I got me a little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Some girls are crazy about diamonds (Diamonds)
Some go wild about pearls (Go wild)
Some girls go for a lot of loot from a check book that ain’t hers (Sho’ ain’t hers)

But I got me a little one room to paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold)
I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!)
But if it meant I had to lose just what I’ve got right now (Right now)
Then I don’t need no gold anyhow (No, no!)

I can’t make love with no diamonds (Diamonds)
Give them all to somebody else (Anybody)
And what good is one hundred rooms if you’re debtor by yourself (Yes, you)

So I’ll take me my little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
Well, that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need no diamonds)
Said I don’t need no money (She don’t need no money, she don’t)