Throwback: When Aretha Franklin shaded Whitney Houston in studio and did EIGHT retakes of her song

In spring of 1989, two of the greatest voices of the past 100 years got together in the studio to record their first ever duet - to be musically produced by Grammy winning composer Narada Michael Walden.

The divas were none other than Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin.

But it turns out that despite, Houston's admiration for the Queen of Soul, the recording session between the two didn't turn out to be as easy on them as it should have.

By this time, Whitney was already being regarded as the greatest singer of her generation, following the commercial and critical reception of her first two albums, while Aretha - who was in the third decade of her career, had her title reserved as the undisputed Queen of Soul. But apparently, that wasn't enough to keep Ree secure while duetting with younger performers, going by the personal account of Walden - who experienced the entire recording session first-hand.

According to Walden's 2012 released book, Whitney Houston: The Voice, the Music, the Inspiration, during the recording session between the two divas for their fierce RnB duet, 'It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be', Whitney was at the receiving end of Aretha's infamous shade and insecure behavior. It started off when the two got together to sing the duet and Whitney simply finished her part of the vocals first and hit a series of powerful notes showcasing her pristine and resonant upper register, which reportedly drove Franklin to being cold towards her. Walden mentions in his book, that Aretha stayed in the studio even after Whitney left, and then did eight takes of the song until she was satisfied that the output had outdone Houston.

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None, of this is a claim by us, but an incident exposed in Narada's 2012 released book.

Read the specific excerpt from the book yourself:

"Clive had come up with the idea to have Aretha and Whitney duet on a song that would portray these two women fighting over the same man, which was kind of ridiculous given the age difference. However, while Nippy had agreed to do this and was in Aretha's neck of the woods out of genuine love-'This is my FAMILY'- the competition between divas runs deep. We rolled tape and the two women did their thing in front of the mics, taking turns singing, duetting, and interacting with one another as if they were buddies from way back. Several takes were recorded. Then on the last one, toward the end of the song-immediately after the Queen did some jazz-style scatting and Whitney interjected with 'That's Aretha- Nippy vamped a staggering vocal lick that would be hard to match, let alone outdo."

Narada then mentions, that Franklin wasn't too happy after Whitney showed off her vocal punch - and kept a cold attitude throughout the recording. Aretha's 'competitiveness had gotten the better of her,' Walden wrote

Narada further stated, how Franklin stayed on studio to ensure she was on par with Whitney on that very part where she did the Vocal Run:

"Without a doubt, she (Whitney) was still upset by how she had been treated and this was evident when, as soon as her work had been completed, Whitney gave me a hug, said a quick good-bye to her aunt, and departed the session early. I felt a little awkward, but without pausing to take a breath, Aretha turned to me and said, 'Go to the part of the tape where she did that thing and punch me in right after it.'So that's what we did. Aretha reared back and performed an absolutely phenomenal riff before saying 'Do it again.' She didn't normally work like this but we ended up doing eight takes right on that spot to make sure that where Whitney had just knocked her- and everyone else- out Aretha had a comeback!"

It doesn't seem too hard to believe, considering other famous instances of Aretha Franklin shading other female artists or being possessive about her position and title - like getting upset with Beyonce for introducing Tina Turner as the 'Queen.'

PS: We love the Queen of Soul for her incomparable artistry and voice, no doubt about that - just putting this tea out there, 'coz its HOT.


Listen to their sizzling duet below:

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