Aretha Franklin made her first record when she was 14, singing some gospel standards in the church of her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, an easygoing Detroit pastor who was friends with Martin Luther King and just about every gospel singer you could name. One of the stars who visited a lot was Sam Cooke, who convinced Aretha that she could be a hit singing popular music.
If I wrote operas, my next work would be called DSKNY. That's a snazzy abbreviation for Dominique Strauss-Kahn New York. The idea came last night when colleagues invited me for cocktails at the Sofitel Hotel, the site of DSK's alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in 2011, and the beginning of his fall from grace.