Eighteen-year-old singer Aretha Franklin begins her first recording session for Columbia Records in New York. The songs are a mix of jazz, pop, blues and show tunes. The resulting album, "Aretha" (released in March 1961), will be her second record; an album of gospel songs was released when she was just 14.
* Listen to "Today I Sing the Blues" (the first song recorded at the first session): @
* Short biography (from rollingstone.com): @
* Essay on her early years: @