I went with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart to Detroit for a recording session with Aretha Franklin of a song they’d written. “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.”
Annie had just started practicing meditation, was a vegetarian, and was terrified about singing with the Queen of Soul. When we arrived, Aretha was eating chicken and smoking. She offered Annie some of the chicken, and I think her refusal was the first step in a number of concerns Aretha developed about singing with her. Annie, in awe of Aretha, and protective of her throat from the smoke, tried to stay back a bit.
Aretha read through the lyrics and was not happy. She didn’t know much about the Eurythmics, and after seeing Annie’s close-cropped hair and men’s suit, Aretha assumed the song was a gay anthem. The vibe in the room was not good. Dave Stewart to the rescue. He put up the multitrack and the atmosphere changed. As soon as Annie started singing you could see Aretha take on a newfound respect for her and then she started to wail. It was Magic.