Celebrity author Mark Bego had only days to update his in-depth biography, “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” / “Tribute Edition,” and it has hit Number One on Amazon.com’s Best Seller lists! The moment Bego heard that Aretha was “gravely ill,” he started work on a new beginning and a new ending to this engrossing biography. This new version is the fourth incarnation of Mark’s popular book which was originally published in 1989.
The book “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” / “Tribute Edition” has been rushed to bookstores by Skyhorse Publishing in New York. It has updated photos, an updated discography, and several new elements. Released on September 18, Bego’s new edition of his Aretha biography hit the top of the charts on two of Amazon’s best-seller lists in both the paperback and Kindle version.
According to Bego, “I’ve been a fan of Aretha’s music since I first wrote about her ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ album in my record review column in the campus newspaper while in college. I can legitimately say, I have been writing Aretha’s story since 1972.”
What sets this book apart is that Mark was able to interview Franklin at her Bloomfield Hills, Michigan home at the height of her “Freeway of Love” recording resurgence. “It wasn’t just an interview,” recalls Bego, “it felt like an official visitation with the Queen of Soul. She even gave me a tour of her garden.”
In addition, Mark was able to personally interview dozens of Franklin’s co-workers, producers, and friends. In addition he spoke to Aretha’s record producers from each area of her recording eras. From the Columbia Records days in the ’60s is Clyde Otis, from her Atlantic Records years it is Jerry Wexler, and from the Arista era he interviewed Clive Davis. Bego also spoke to longtime friends of Aretha’s including Mary Wilson, Martha Reeves, Freda Payne, and Sarah Dash. Says the author, “This book has been a true labor of love for me.”
When news of Aretha’s passing came on August 16, acknowledged as being an “Aretha Franklin expert,” Bego was interviewed by over 20 television and radio stations in France, England, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, and the U.S. Bego and his book “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” were quoted in the Aretha press coverage in several newspapers including: The Detroit Free Press, The Chicago Tribune, The Guardian in London, The Duluth News Tribune, and The Washington Post, Closer magazine, and The New York Times.
This biography has been called “the definitive reading of the Queen of Soul’s life and career” by The Library Journal. Gary Graff in The Oakland Press said, “A thoroughly reported piece by celebrity biographer Mark Bego.” In The Rock & Roll Reader’s Guide Gary Krebs claims: “Mark Bego does a magnificent job exploring the pieces of Franklin’s life and Grammy-filled career . . . excellent photos contribute to this ‘. . . well-rounded portrait.’” And, in Inside Books Anne Raso wrote the book is, “as colorful as the eccentric Queen of Soul herself.”
The success of “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” gives Mark Bego three best-sellers in a row: “Life With My Father: Glen Campbell” with Debby Campbell (Top Ten “The Tennessean”) in 2014, and his 2017 Skyhorse Publishing celebrity cookbook “Eat Like a Rock Star” (Top Ten Amazon New Cookbooks List). The cookbook features Bego’s recipes along with the recipes of 46 rock & roll stars.