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I Never Loved A Man the Way I Love You Hardcover – 13 Dec 2004

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Press; First Edition/first Printing edition (13 Dec. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312318286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312318284
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,826,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"An enlightening window on the creative process." --"Publishers Weekly" "The book effectively explains why her [Aretha's] release on the great 60's R&B label was a definitive move for the singer." --"American Songwriter Magazine""A standout in the current crowd of classic-album histories." --"Booklist""" ."..a fascinating illuminating narrative that includes short biographies of all the albums major participants." -- "Muze"

From the Back Cover

"I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," Aretha Franklin's first album for Atlantic Records and famed producer Jerry Wexler, was a pop and soul music milestone that jump-started Franklin's languishing career. Almost overnight, Aretha became a top-selling recording artist and a cultural icon. Matt Dobkin has unearthed fascinating details about the recording session in Muscle Shoals, Alabama: about the volatile behavior of Aretha's manager/husband, Ted White; about Aretha's reaction to the lack of black musicians in the session; and about how tempers and alcohol almost derailed the session with only a track and half in the can.

This book goes far beyond anything that's been written about "The Queen of Soul" or her music before. I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU is the story of a great achievement and includes scores of fresh interviews, including Wexler, the session men from Muscle Shoals and Aretha's own musicians. It gives insight into a star more complex and determined than her modern diva image would seem to indicate. Aretha, a teenage mother and daughter of a commanding preacher father, rose above her circumstances and transformed them into art. She gave the Civil Rights movement, already well underway in 1967 when the album came out, a passionate call to arms. And with "Respect" she provided the burgeoning feminist movement with an enduring theme song.
The first serious, non-biographical look at Aretha Franklin's work, I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU will deepen even ardent fans' understanding of one of the great soul artists of our time, a direct descendant of Bessie Smith and Billie Holliday.

"Effusive writing...about her sublime musicianship and the impact of her songs on feminism and the Civil Rights movement...opens an enlightening window on the creative process."
--"Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book and referenced it a lot in my work on Aretha when I was in my first year of Uni. It is not only a bio on Aretha, but an insight into the way music was made in those days (before the digital era) and also how social movements influenced both her and the record labels.A very interesting read :)
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Format: Paperback
i found this book very disapointing. I am a huge fan of Miss Franklin, the only new things I found out i didnt already know, would probably be half a page.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x91698fd8) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916afb70) out of 5 stars Very good book - Concentrates mostly on music! 19 Jan. 2005
By Music Lover - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Just read this after finding it in the library. The book is mostly about the recording of Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved A Man" single and album. I love hearing the details about recording and music. The author has interviewed several of the original musicians, Jerry Wexler and even Ted White (Franklin's ex-husband).

The book doesn't try to make anyone out to be totally bad. I was impressed by the author's take on Ted White, not totally making him out to be the evil guy everyone said he was. I'm not saying he was perfect, just human with flaws.

There is a chapter on the so-called trouble that went along with the session. Just about everyone has had their say on what happened almost 40 years ago. The author wisely collects several different accounts and doesn't try to definitively define what happened.

I wish more people would write books about the music, rather than deal with the tabloid details of an artist's life. I understand that a person's personal life is woven into their life as an artist and I believe that the author balanaces out both in discussing Aretha Franklin, her life and music.

I thought is was very interesting to read about Franklin's musical influences. If you have never listened to Dinah Washington, you should check her out and hear how she influenced Aretha Franklin.

For music fans, this is a good read. Let's have more books like this regarding Motown and other soul music!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916afbc4) out of 5 stars I Need Aretha 5 Feb. 2005
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If there is anything that remains constant in my life, it is knowing that Aretha Franklin is a sister spirit and that her voice can help to calm me in the most torrential times. It seems that when I listen to Aretha she is speaking directly to me, telling me she knows what I am going through and that everything will turn out fine. Matt Dobkin revisits the recording of a 1967 album that shot Aretha Franklin to the highest level of stardom and changed the voice of soul music forever and changed my life forever.

I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVE YOU is not just a biography. Instead, it is a detailed analysis of Aretha's rise to superstardom and the recording sessions during what some would argue is Aretha's finest hour. Dobkin interviewed many of the direct participants of the recording of I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You to inject the history needed to make telling this story a success. However, he also included thoughts from the great poet Nikki Giovanni (her descriptions of both Aretha's presence and the tumultuous era in question were remarkable) and other contemporaries of the Queen of Soul for added context.

The album, I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You, included such cuts as "Do Right Woman," "Save Me," "Dr. Feelgood," (one of my favorite Aretha songs) and the female anthem, "Respect," an Otis Redding song that Aretha covered and made her own. But, as Dobkin seems to relay, one of the most important aspects of this recording was that it was interracial; most of the musicians on the album were young white men from Muscle Shoals, Alabama or neighboring cities. Dobkin also notes that the musical process that was utilized on this album (Aretha at the piano, leading the show) would become her M.O. for making music from that day forward.

Aretha has numerous albums to her credit, ranging from a Dinah Washington tribute album, recorded during her stint at Columbia Records, to the Atlantic Records late-sixties masterpiece that is the focus of this book. Dobkin seemed to know what he was talking about when retelling the story of the album's birth, and he provided much needed groundwork to help the reader understand just how important that album was in 1967 and still is today. I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You ushered in the reign of the Queen of Soul and widely introduced this timeless voice to the favorites list of music lovers worldwide. Dobkin gave Aretha her demanded Respect and took it a step further by praising her musical virtuosity.

Reviewed by CandaceK

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916b4018) out of 5 stars The stories behind the making of Respect, Dr. Feelgood, and I Never Loved a Man 2 April 2007
By J-Rock - Published on
Format: Paperback
"I Never Loved a Man" is a music journalist's take on Aretha Franklin's groundbreaking album. Dobkin comes from a background in opera writing, and he writes with great appreciation and sensitivity about the music. You can tell that he enjoys listening to the music and trying to conquer the challenging task of describing tones with prose. He also interviews some of the key figures in the story such as Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, Aretha's ex-husband, Ahmet Ertegun, and many of the key performers on the album. He takes an informal tone at times with his interviewees and tries to go beyond reporting their reflections on the album and treating them as characters in themselves. Those interested in Jerry Wexler, the executive at Atlantic who produced the sessions, will gain from his perspective and the musicians' responses to hearing about Jerry Wexler.

I do differ with some of this author's interpretations. He seems to feel that Muscle Shoals' FAME Studios was a critical part of this album's sound. Dobson takes great pains early on in the book to stress the "three white men" who played important roles in making this music happen. In many cases, such as Wilson Pickett's work for Atlantic, Muscle Shoals and its integrated country influenced soul did provided a core studio sound. Yes, the musicians added key riffs to the tunes. Reading into some of the details of this book, however, we see that in many ways Aretha and her husband were key catalysts in radically altering the relationship between Jerry Wexler's Atlantic Records and FAME Studios. Dobkin does a good job of talking about "the incident" where the racial tensions between an all-white studio band and a redneck trumpet player lead to conflict and a fight with Aretha's husband. That led to an integrated band and a plot to steal FAME's musicians for Atlantic in the New York sessions that were later held to finish the album.

Regardless, Aretha would have made this kind of music with anyone. It's her church, her Dinah Washington, and her Clara Ward and the fire within her bones coming out at one time. I firmly believe that Aretha Franklin was a force of nature in the studio, and she, unlike other vocalists such as Diana Ross, would have achieved greatness with any quality studio support. She would have been Aretha at Stax or even RCA as long as the producer was smart enough to be like Jerry Wexler and largely get out of her freakishly gifted way. In many ways, the most feminist thing about these sides is that these are early examples of a woman producing herself in a male-dominated industry and then hitting a home-run with overwhelming chart-topping success. Unfortunately, Aretha did not have the business sense to carve out producer or co-producer credit for her efforts in bandleading and directing musicians until later on in her career.

Nikki Giovanni is a key voice in this book as well. For those who see her solely as "that black feminist poet", it's fun to see her as just a fan of the Queen of Soul.

Dobkin sums up his agenda early on in the book: to provide a snapshot of what Aretha when she was crowned Queen of Soul at Atlantic. Minor complaints aside, he does an excellent job providing a lasting testimony to a great vocalist, artist, and symbol of soul power. Here's hoping that Aretha opens up a little as she enters her twilight years and improves on her biography or a biographer can do justice to the full scope of her life. Until then, books like "I Never Loved a Man" will provide great insight into the nature of her gift.

Strongly recommended...

--4 stars

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916b43e4) out of 5 stars A Day In The Life of Aretha 11 Aug. 2005
By Kevin S. O'Donnell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book focuses on the career-making debut album of Aretha Franklin on Atlantic Records. A fascinating glimpse at the first-recorded track for the album, the title track, takes the reader back into a point in time when our country was on the verge of a musical revolution, never to look back. Pop music historians will savor the exquisite detail afforded the description of this initial music session held in Mussel Shoals, Alabama, and then travel to Atlantic's New York Studios, under the watchful and supportive producer Jerry Wexler, for one of the Queen of Soul's most relevant sessions of her pioneering career. All of the chemistry is present in the production of this album, which tells the story of musical magic coming to life. A very engaging read!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x916b44c8) out of 5 stars A Slice of Music History 16 Aug. 2009
By Loves the View - Published on
Format: Paperback
Matt Dobkin is not just any Aretha fan, he's totally devoted and knows the complete Franklin discography. He can probably recite it, chronologically, backwards and forwards. He's also a noted opera critic.

This book, in theory, is about the making of "I Never Loved a Man the Way that I Loved You", which Dobkin considers pivotal in Aretha's career. The recording story, though, seems merely a structure for some musings about Aretha. He tells something of her life (but not much that can't be found on the internet) something of her work with Dr. King, something of her way of producing her own material and something of her position in the development of popular music and the popular music industry.

While Dobkin is not convincing in describing how "I Never Loved..." is more noteworthy than "Respect" (other than being the first track down with Atlantic), he does tell an interesting story about how it and its album got recorded. This kernel of about 30 pages is perhaps the only thing new in the book.

This is definitely a niche book. If you love Franklin you probably have to read it... but you will probably know just about everything Dobkin tells you.
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