Legendary music producer Clive Davis shares stories from 40 years of working with Aretha Franklin

Davis speaks at Franklin's funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit

DETROIT – Legendary music producer Clive Davis, who worked with Aretha Franklin for 40 years, spoke Friday at her funeral in Detroit.

"What a truly memorable day," Davis said. "What an incredible celebration of an incredible life."

Davis said Franklin loved Detroit and living in the city of Detroit.

He said when he sat down with Franklin in 1979, she was already the Queen of Soul. She had already released hits such as "Natural Woman," "Respect" and others.

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"We talked into the night about the next five years of recording, when Aretha would be over 40 years old," Davis said. "Much in music had changed. Could she still compete? Well, there was no doubt in Aretha's mind, and frankly, there was no doubt in my mind."

Davis said after he signed her, five years turned into more than three decades.

"We were committed to show all the budding musicians how long a career can last," Davis said. "Aretha was indeed a true genius of American music."

Davis said every time he was with Franklin, whether professionally or personally, he knew she would be part of history.

"I've spent time with (many successful people)," Davis said. "Most of these people have affected the world in some way, but Aretha is in her own very special category. Aretha's voice will be heard, Aretha's voice will be impacting, Aretha's voice will be influencing others literally for centuries to come."

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Davis said they worked together well into Franklin's 50s and beyond, naming several hits they released. He said Franklin had No. 1 records, gold albums, platinum albums and several Grammy awards.

"She really relished and cherished every moment of it, and I was so privileged to be there and personally witness the magnitude of talent of this singers' singer, this musicians' musician," Davis said. "Let me add for you that behind her God-given natural talent was the drive of a total perfectionist."

Davis said Franklin prepared so hard for her music that by the time she stepped in the studio, she already owned each song.

"Aretha was electrifyingly intuitive," Davis said.

Davis said Franklin was kind and thoughtful, genuinely funny and had a great sense of humor. He said one of her traits that stood out to him was her loyalty.

"If I were to ask her to perform at a special event, she was there," Davis said. "Yes, she traveled the country by bus, and the winter roads are not very friendly. But she would be there."

You can watch Davis' full remarks in the video posted above.

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