Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Royal: Queens

As a native of the New York borough of Queens, I’ve been a bit miffed by the virtual (but not complete) absence of any references to Queens during this theme. I could have written about bands and artists who came from that borough, like the Ramones or Paul Simon, or even Run-DMC, or some of the famous jazz musicians who lived there, like Louis Armstrong. Or, I could have made it easy, and written about Queen, or the Queens of the Stone Age. Or picked a song like “Killer Queen,” “Queen Bee,” or, god forbid, “Dancing Queen.” But, no, I’m going to go in a different direction, and talk a bit about some of the great musicians who have been crowned Queen of some genre or another. Because there isn’t an official organization devoted to the creation of music royalty (as opposed to organizations that collect music royalties), in some cases there may be competing claimants for the crown. For the purposes of this post, I deem myself the final authority, and hope that my decisions don’t lead to, say, a War of the Roses. And, because these titles are not granted by the United States, none of these citizens are in violation of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, the Title of Nobility Clause (or, for that matter, the Sanity Clause).

Let’s get started with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin:

From the next country over, we have the Queen of R&B, Ruth Brown:

The Queen of Gospel, Mahaila Jackson, occupies an older throne:

Nearby, the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor reigns:

Meanwhile, down in Louisiana, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, lets the good times roll:

We can't forget the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald (who lived for a while in Queens):

Influenced by some of her fellow rulers, the Queen of Rock & Roll (who also held the crown as Queen of Psychedelic Soul, presumably subject to Aretha), Janis Joplin’s reign was too short:

In Opryland, Loretta Lynn, the Queen of Country, holds sway:

Meanwhile, hailing from Staten Island is the Queen of Folk, Joan Baez:

Cuban Celia Cruz’s status as Queen of Salsa was never threatened by the revolution (although she became a citizen of the United States):

And we end this discussion with the Queen of Reinvention, yes, Cher:

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