Glenn Hughes paid tribute to Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," who died Thursday after it was reported last week that she was "gravely ill" in Detroit. Her family said that the cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.
During an interview with the "Talking Metal" podcast, the former DEEP PURPLE bassist/vocalist and current BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION frontman said (hear audio below): "My first girlfriend's brother was three or four years older than I. I was 14 years old; he must have been 18. He ran a discotheque in the West Midlands, in the Black Country, where I was raised, and I was just a preteen kid, and he would have me fetching music like a DJ and he'd be playing me Detroit songs and gospel songs. As you know, I've got a bit of an R&B education.
"So what I'm getting to here, Aretha was the first woman — white, black or whatever color; it doesn't make any difference to me — she was the first woman that raised the hair on the back of my neck when she sang," he continued. "And as you know, I'm deeply into all kinds of singers — I'm a big fan of other people's work. [Hearing her sing for the first time] did a number on me, 'cause of the tone of her voice and the deep well of emotion she brought to every song noun or verb or word she sang, this did a number on this 14-year-old little boy. And I kind of followed her all these years, and knowing she was sick a couple of weeks ago, but not realizing she was going to pass… I think her death is going to really, really [affect] a lot of people. It's a really difficult thing to think that she's no longer with us."
Franklin was 76 years old at the time of her death.
In 1987, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and was later named the "Greatest Singer of All Time" by Rolling Stone.
Hughes will launch the next U.S. leg of the "Classic Deep Purple Live" tour on August 25 in Westbury, New York. The 18-city trek, which follows the recently completed South American and European festival tour, travels around the Northeastern U.S. before wrapping up in Tarrytown, New York on September 22. Glenn will be performing various hits and deep cuts from the DEEP PURPLE catalog, including "Burn", "Stormbringer", "Sail Away" and "Smoke On The Water", among others. Hughes will focus on arrangements from the live albums — not studio recordings — for these songs, "giving fans even more insight as to what it was like seeing a DEEP PURPLE show during the 1970s," according to a press release for the tour.