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Musician of the Month

Our February Musician Of The Month is 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin timeline and knowledge organiser

Aretha Franklin - Respect [1967] (Aretha's Original Version)

Aretha Franklin - Think [1968] (Original Version)

Aretha Franklin - Think
Song written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White
Album: Aretha Now (1968)

I Say A Little Prayer For You

Aretha Franklin performs "I Say A Little Prayer," October 9, 1970.

Aretha Franklin and George Michael - I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Official Video)

Aretha Franklin "Let It Be"

This song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1970. They wanted Aretha to record her own version of it so they sent it to her record company. Aretha released her version before the Beatles released it themselves but the Beatles version became much more well known.

Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day (Official Music Video)

"Oh Happy Day" by Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples

Aretha Franklin Brings President Obama To Tears Performing At Kennedy Center Honors

Aretha Franklin performed at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors this year, paying tribute to Carole King, who helped co-write the song she performed "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."

Aretha's Epic Obama Inauguration Performance

(16 Aug 2018) Aretha Franklin brought down the house at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009. Her performance was as memorable for her hat as it was for her rendition of "My country 'tis of thee." (Aug.

Sigur Ros: Timeline & Knowledge Organiser

Sigur Rós - Hoppípolla

"Hoppípolla" is a song by Sigur Rós from their 2005 album Takk. The song title means "hopping into puddles", and the lyrics are mainly in Icelandic, with some nonsensical phrases, a "language" the band calls Vonlenska ("Hopelandic"). This song has been featured on the BBC's 'Planet Earth' and 'Blue Planet'..

Sigur Rós - Stendur æva w/ Steindór Andersen, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson & María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir

Sigur Ros released Stendur æva in 202. It is a song from their orchestral album Odin's Raven Magic. Stendur Aeva means 'Stands Alive'. The instruments in this piece are a really unusual combination of sounds. Look out for the marimbas made from rough pieces of stone at the start of the pice. There are also two very different solo voices, a choir a brass section, as sting sections, keyboards....what else can you spot?

Sigur Ros - Olsen Olsen

This video includes footage of Sigur Ros performing at an open air concert in 2006. Look out for the lead singer & guitarist, Jónsi, playing his electric guitar with a cello bow and singing in his falsetto voice.

Sigur Ros - Glósóli

This song was taken from the album "Takk" which means 'thanks'. Roughly translated the title of the song (Glósóli) means 'glowing sun'. The video consists of children dressed in old-fashioned Icelandic clothing, migrating towards a very characteristic cliff which is to be found in Reykjanes Peninsula in the SW of Iceland. The song culminates at the end when the children reach a large hill and the leader starts beating his drum rapidly. When the song climaxes, the children start to run full speed up the hill. It is then shown that the hill is in fact a cliff, ending at the ocean. When the children reach the edge, they jump off and swim through the air. NB LONGFLEET - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME - YOU CANNOT FLY!

Jonsi's "Sticks and Stones" Music Video

OK, so strictly speaking this isn't by Sigur Ros! Jonsi is Sigur Ros' front man and has also released solo music. He wrote and performed two songs for the How To Train Your Dragon films - this one and 'Where No One Goes' from HTTYD2.

Iceland: land of Fire and Ice

The physical geography of Iceland is incredibly dramatic and has influenced the music of Sigur Ros. Iceland is largely an arctic desert punctuated by mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, volcanoes and waterfalls. Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands close to the coastline. Iceland's most distinctive features are the glaciers that cover over 4,600 square miles. (The music in this video is not Sigur Ros - it is just on here to help you understand why the Icelandic landscapes inspire their music!)

Elton John : Timeline and Knowledge Organiser

John Lewis' Christmas Ad 2018, with Elton John

For their traditional Christmas advert 2018, John Lewis & Partners worked with musical legend Elton John. He sings his power ballad "Your Song". The emotional two-minute video tracks John's road to stardom - from playing in pubs to sold out stadium shows.

Elton John - Rocket Man (Royal Festival Hall, London 1972)

Elton's second concert at London's Royal Festival Hall was an opportunity for him and his band to perform their newly-recorded album Honky Château in its entirety. This live debut of 'Rocket Man' two months before its release as the album's first single is striking in its freshness and its ability to nearly replicate the studio arrangement on stage.

George Michael & Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Live)

Elton John - Candle In The Wind

"Candle in the Wind" came from the Live In Australia With The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra album. The video is from Elton's 1986 concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The sound of applause is the audience responding to the orchestra lighting candles, unbeknownst to Elton.

Elton John - Circle of Life (From "The Lion King"/Official Video)

"Circle of Life" is performed and composed by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song features in the iconic opening sequence of Walt Disney's The Lion King and this music video features alternative lyrics from the soundtrack version. It was also nominated for Best Song at the 1994 Academy Awards.

ETHEL SMYTH (1858 - 1944)

"The March of the Women"

As well as being a musician, Smyth was also a suffragette who devoted herself to the cause for women's rights for two years, giving up her music in order to focus on it completely. In 1911, her piece, "The March of The Women" became the anthem of the women's suffragette movement. The piece became a symbol of the movement and was sung not only at rallies but also in prisons where the women were on hunger strike. The Votes For Women newspaper described the song as 'at once a hymn and a call to battle'.

How the suffragettes won British women the vote | 100 Years of the Women's Movement | BBC Teach

Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney traces the history of the women's movement in Britain and discovers how women won the vote. **Please note, this series was originally broadcast in 2013 and all information was correct at the time of recording.

Ethel Smyth - Concerto For Violin and Horn

The "Concerto for Violin and Horn" by Ethel Smyth, performed by concertmaster Juraj Cizmarovic and solo hornist Marcel Sobol with the WDR Funkhausorchester under the baton of its principal conductor Frank Strobel. Recorded live at the WDR Funkhaus Wallrafplatz on September 10, 2021.

Mass in D for soloists, chorus, orchestra and organ: Kyrie

Ethel Smyth - Serenade in D Major - BBC Philharmonic

This orchestral piece is in four movements. A movement in a piece of music s a bit like a chapter in a book.
00:00 - I. Allegro non troppo
14:27 - II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace - Allegro molto
20:37 - III. Allegretto grazioso - Molto vivace grazioso
26:21 - IV - Allegretto grazioso

Ethel Smyth - The Wreckers (Overture) (1906)

Ethel Smyth's opera, "The Wreckers" was considered the most important English opera of the time. However, it was not until her 75th birthday in 1934, hat her work was celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall in front of the Queen. Heartbreakingly, at the moment of long-overdue recognition, Smyth was completely deaf and could hear neither her own music nor the cheering of the crowds.

Yo-Yo Ma, Kathryn Stott - Lullaby (Brahms)

Smyth's greatest influence was Johannes Brahms, a German romantic composer. In 1878, she was lucky enough to see him when he arrived in Leipzig to conduct his new symphony. The became friends and he greatly admired Smyth's compositions. She was forever inspired by his music. You may recognise the very famous melody of this piece by Brahms.

A fantastic bit of research from Edie in Year 4: Nina was a proud, young girl. When her mum was at church, Nina, unnoticed, climbed up the organ bench and learned to play “God Be With You Til We Meet Again”. She was three years old then. When she was five years old, her mother’s employer offered to pay for piano lessons and Nina started training to become a classical pianist. She was committed, hard working and hugely talented. At twelve, she gave her first concert. Her parents were sitting in the front row, but they were forced to sit at the back of the hall to make room for some white people who came in. Nina refused to start playing until her parents were seated at the front. Nina poured passion and pride into her music, and she could not stand racism. She wanted black people to be free, be proud, to embrace their talents and their passions free of judgement. That’s why she wrote songs like “Brown Baby” and Young, Gifted and Black”. Nina Simone knew how racism hurt black people and she wanted them to find strength in her songs. “The worst thing about that kind of prejudice,” she said, “is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds your self doubt. You start thinking perhaps I am not good enough.” Nina decided to cultivate her talent, rather than her fear and eventually she became one of the most famous jazz singers in the world.

Feeling Good - Nina Simone (1965)

This is most definitely in Miss Wright's top 5 songs! Enjoy the beautiful acapella vocal at the beginning and then the full, rich sounds of the band when they play their iconic opening notes. How many different instruments can you hear? Originally written for the 1964 musical "The Roar Of The Greasepaint-The Smell Of The Crowd" it has since been covered by many artists, including Muse, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, Traffic, Michael Bublé, The Pussycat Dolls, George Michael, John Barrowman, John Coltrane, Toše Proeski, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Adam Lambert. ENJOY THIS!

Nina Simone - "My Baby Just Cares For Me" - with '87 animation

Originally recorded by Nina Simone in 1957, this song made a big come back in 1987 when it was used in an advert. This wonderful animation was also made in 1987. While you're enjoying the two cool cats, keep an eye out for the footage of the piano the snare drum and the double bass.

Nina Simone "Love Me Or Leave Me" on The Ed Sullivan Show

Nina Simone's greatest influence was classical composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was a German composer who lived from 1685 - 1750. Nina's musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music along with her expressive vocals. "Once I understood Bach's music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music." In this song, you can see the evidence of her training as a classical pianist. She was a truly talented and wonderful musician!

Young, gifted and black - Lyrics - Nina Simone

Here Comes the Sun - Nina Simone

You might recognise this song because it was written by George Harrison! This is Nina Simone's version - how do you think it compares to the Beatle's original?

Ain't Got No, I Got Life - Nina Simone

Nina Simone playing live in London, 1968. ‘I Got Life’ is a real celebration - there are always reasons to choose the positive side of life, no matter how bad things seem or how difficult the way ahead looks. Nina Simone’s exuberant response to adversity brings to mind the words of poet Maya Angelou, another civil rights activist:
‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.’

Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam

This song reminds us that music has the power to do so much more than just entertain us. This is a powerful protest song about all the acts of violence and oppression against Black communities in the segregated South of America. “It was my first civil rights song,” she later recalled, “and it erupted out of me quicker than I could write it down.”


The Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand - Performed Live On The Ed Sullivan Show 2/9/64

'I Want to Hold Your Hand' was the first Beatles' record to top both the UK and the US charts. It was also their first to be recorded on a 4-track, as opposed to the usual 2-track, tape machine.

The Beatles - Yellow Submarine

Let It Be

All You Need Is Love

How many different instruments can you hear in this one?


We all need a little bit of help sometimes!

Here Comes The Sun

You might recognise this song from 'Bee Movie'. Quite a few musicians have covered it. Miss Wright's favourite cover version is by Nina Simone.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude topped the charts in Britain for two weeks and for 9 weeks in America, where it became The Beatles longest-running No.1 in the US singles chart as well as the single with the longest running time. I think the Beatles were being a little bit silly at the start of this video but it is nice to see them doing a live performance with an audience.

With A Little Help From My Friends

Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney of The Beatles perform "With A Little Help From My Friends" with special guests at the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony. You can find other recordings of the original Beatles version on youtube but it's nice to see the two surviving Beatles performing together and also to see all the instruments that were in this song!