Backstage with Sandy Kenyon: Aretha Franklin's photographer

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Friday, October 18, 2019
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Sandy goes backstage with photojournalist Linda Solomon, who recently published a book about her experiences on the road with Aretha Franklin.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Aretha Franklin was known around the world as "The Queen of Soul," but in a new book, photojournalist Linda Solomon introduces "The Queen Next Door."

The photographer became a friend to Aretha after spotting her at a local grocery store.

"She wasn't a diva ... She did her own grocery shopping. In fact, I was shopping at the local store where we live in Detriot, and I saw Aretha, and then when I checked out, I said to the cashier, 'You know, Aretha is in the produce aisle.' The cashier looked at me, she said, 'She's here all the time,'" Solomon said.

In the 80s, Franklin moved back home to Detriot to be with her family. Solomon had a column in The Detroit News and decided to track down the star after she appeared on a local talk show.

"So I went down to the studio, and I waited for her to arrive. She walked out of her limo, and I said, 'Ms. Franklin, thank you so much for coming home," she said.

The 1980s were an incredible time for Franklin, a time when hits like "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Freeway of Love" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" topped charts.

Despite her stardom, Franklin wasn't leaving Detriot, so anyone who wanted to perform with her needed to fly out from Los Angeles or New York.

"And because I had gotten to know here, she invited me to cover all of these wonderful things she was experiencing, from her network specials, to the AMAs, even to her son's college graduation party," Solomon said.

Solomon said during this time, she learned that family was everything to Franklin.

"In fact, she said that was the happiest time of her life, when she could perform with her sisters on stage," she said.