Lenny Kravitz on Aretha Franklin: 'She Was Always Cracking Me Up'

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Aretha Franklin and Lenny Kravitz perform onstage at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 30, 2009 in New York City. 

Lenny Kravitz, a student, duet partner and friend of Aretha Franklin's, reflects on losing the soul icon following her Aug. 16 death. As told to Gary Graff.

I love Aretha. I've loved Aretha since I was a child. Jackson 5 records, Aretha Franklin records, that was my education.

The Queen of Soul says it all, and it's absolutely true. She's actually in my top three piano players, too, even if she didn't open her mouth.

I got to sing with her at Madison Square Garden. We did a duet together and got to hang out with her a bit and talk to her on the phone. She'd call me, I'd call her.

(She's) the greatest, the greatest, the greatest, the greatest. Just a sweet woman and she just felt like somebody in my family, like one of my aunts. She felt really familiar to me. 

And she was funny. I remember in rehearsal she would constantly be telling jokes and she'd start telling me stories. She'd always have some incredibly funny punch line or she'd pull a picture out of her purse of something to show you that was so funny. She was always cracking me up.

Just a beautiful lady. Demands her respect, and rightfully so. 


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