Yesterday, the Internet’s most shared video took us back almost 40 years. It was a clip from the Tuesday night broadcast of the Kennedy Center Honors, President Barack Obama’s annual lifetime achievement salute to this country’s cultural icons — including, this year, singer-songwriter Carole King.
This week’s viral video starts as the segment honoring King ends and a surprise guest strolls out on stage with a gold clutch and a floor-length fur coat: None other than Aretha Franklin.
What happens next — a rendition of Franklin’s 1967 King-penned hit “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” so potent it has the President brushing away a tear — has been the subject of awe and a torrent of social-media chatter. From the moment Franklin sits at the piano, King is beside herself with rapture, and soon she’s not the only one, as Franklin accompanies herself on piano for two gorgeously wistful verses, then raises the energy by strolling out to center stage and shaking off the fur as her vocals soar to a rousing climax.
Franklin may not have had a hit single in decades, but the performance makes it clear that there is still only one “Queen Of Soul.”
See for yourself.