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A great person, great cook, great woman: Aretha Franklin’s childhood friend Smokey Robinson remembers the Queen of Soul


ABC NewsIn his first interview since the death of his childhood friend, Aretha Franklin, Motown legend Smokey Robinson recalled on ABC’s Good Morning America Friday the first time they met in Detroit.

“I hear a piano being played and I hear this little voice singing,” Robinson, 78, said. “And I look in, and there’s Aretha sitting there at the piano, singing and playing, almost like she sang and played in her adult life.

“But she was probably about five years old or so and she just had ‘it.'”

“Aretha and I were just tight,” he said of Franklin, who died Thursday at the age of 76. “We had a wonderful, wonderful friendship that lasted throughout her entire life. Up until the day before yesterday, Aretha was my longest friend on earth.”

Robinson added that the topics of fame and showbiz rarely came up in conversation between him and Aretha, and the other future stars who were their neighbors in Detroit, such as Diana Ross and The Four Tops.

“There were a lot of us in that neighborhood, and those of us who were blessed enough to get our wish or our dream to be in show business, we just always had regular relationships.”

Robinson added that there was much more to the Queen of Soul than simply her musical talent.

“Aretha had a great sense of humor,” he said, adding, “She could throw down in the kitchen! She cooked me many a meal….She was just a great person, great cook, great woman.”

Meanwhile, on ABC’s Nightline Thursday night, chart-topping songwriter Diane Warren, who penned a number of songs for the Queen of Soul, said, “Aretha Franklin elevated anything she sang to 20 levels beyond what that song was…Listen to the soul that was dripping out of every note.”

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