Celebrity author Mark Bego had only days to update his in-depth biography, “Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul” / “Tribute Edition,” and it has already hit Number One on one of Amazon.com’s Best Seller lists! The moment Bego heard that Aretha was “gravely ill” last week, he started work on a new beginning and a new ending to this engrossing biography. This 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” is being rushed to bookstores by Skyhorse Publishing in New York. It has updated photos, an updated discography, and several new elements.
Although the book isn’t officially released until September 18, pre-sales put Bego’s new edition of his Aretha biography at the top of the charts on Amazon’s “New Release” best-seller list in pre-sales for the Kindle version.
This gives Mark Bego 3 best-sellers in a row: following “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.
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.”
Then 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. Adds Bego, “This book has been a true labor of love for me.”