Saturday, April 13, 2024

No “Respect:” Daughter of Aretha Franklin Producer Speaks Out on Missing Movie Characters: “Very little historical accuracy yet again”

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Tom Dowd was one of Aretha Franklin’s three main producers/arrangers at Atlantic Records. But like the great Arif Mardin, he is also entirely scrubbed from the new movie, “Respect.”

Dowd and Mardin worked for and closely with Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, a legend in the record business and the man who put Aretha on the map after Columbia Records’ John Hammond made 9 mediocre albums with the future Queen of Soul.

In “Respect,” none of them exist, only Jerry Wexler (in large part, I think, because he left behind a book, “Rhythm & Blues,” that the screenwriter could lift anecdotes from).

This excising doesn’t sit well with the late producer’s daughter. Dana Dowd, who writes on Facebook:
“Not at all knocking the stellar performances of the actors/actresses in this film. It is however very unfortunate that Hollywood relies so heavily on music to assist in making films but does not have the “respect” to properly tell the story of the making of the music when “re-creating” films about an industry and fellow form of artistic expression they rely so heavily on.
P.s. – my father nor Arif were just “Producers” of Aretha’s most well known era but also contributed their engineering and/or arranging skills and conducted the musicians on 99.9% of those songs. Ahmet was co-writer of one of Aretha’s hits (“Don’t Play That Song”). It was also not Jerry Wexler who discovered the Aretha sitting at the piano nuance of her vocal range, but my father. So there is very little historical accuracy yet again.”

Tom Dowd was memorialized in a great documentary easily found on YouTube and Amazon called Tom Dowd and the Language of Music.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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