The Week In Music: Aretha Franklin Still Commands Respect

The Queen of Soul deploys a musical tactic to elude a parking ticket
  • Photo: Bobby Bank/
    Aretha Franklin
August 12, 2011 -- 7:00 am PDT

Let's face it, trying to talk a parking officer out of giving you a parking ticket is akin to trying to solve a Rubik's Cube while blindfolded. The next time you're unceremoniously served with a parking ticket, instead of giving the officer a piece of your mind, you might try an alternate tactic: singing. While dining at Neely's Barbecue Parlor in New York, Aretha Franklin saw a meter maid writing a ticket and made a beeline outside and ultimately got out of the ticket by breaking into song and signing an autograph. While there's no word on which song the Queen of Soul serenaded the officer with, our money is on "Think." While this situation can be seen as the latest example of preferential treatment for celebrities, it nevertheless gives hope to those encountering similar parking predicaments in the future. Of course, singing Cee Lo Green's "F*** You" to an officer may get you a date in the slammer, so we advise you to choose your song carefully.

It's become somewhat commonplace for artists to equate themselves to figures of the past (and present). The trend dates back at least to the late '60s when John Lennon made the notorious comment that the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus." More recently, in 2010 teen pop sensation Justin Bieber compared himself to the late grunge rocker Kurt Cobain, and earlier this year Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl intimated he was the Jon Bon Jovi of this generation. Now, Kanye West has played the comparison game, with an angle toward Germany's most controversial figure. "I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street and people look at me like I'm f***ing insane, like I'm Hitler," the rapper exclaimed during a concert in England on Aug. 6. "One day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did." Kanye may not be bigger than Jesus, but now he sounds like him.

From sports players and stocks to cars and gold, trading is a part of life. But for married folks, are trade-ins possible? Recording artists Flavor Flav and Dee Snider are about to find out as they are among the celebrities signed on to participate in ABC's new series "Celebrity Wife Swap." The program is a spin-off of the network's "Wife Swap" series, and as the title suggests the duo will essentially swap spouses. Snider, who made a name for himself as the frontman of '80s metal band Twisted Sister, has been married for 30 years to wife Suzette, with whom he has four kids. Meanwhile, Flav married his current wife Liz during an episode of his VH1 show "Flavor Of Love" in 2008. Will Flav and his golden teeth be able to bring enough charm and metal machismo to wow Mrs. Snider? And will the makeup-wearing rocker Snider be able to find some rhythm with a hip-hop artist's fine maiden?

It's no secret that Ke$ha and Alice Cooper have a little something going on. And by "something" we mean a relationship that's become quite affectionate. When Cooper joined Ke$ha onstage at an Oslo, Norway, concert in July, the edgy pop songstress thanked the rocker with a tweet in which she referred to him as "dad." But the pair is taking their relationship to a whole different (read: satanic) level as Cooper is casting the dollar-sign darling as the devil on his new concept album Welcome 2 My Nightmare. The duo has collaborated on the track "What Baby Wants" and, according to the rocker, the pop songstress wrote "the most disgusting lyrics" for the tune. Too disgusting for the devil? We doubt it. For Cooper, the expectations are high for Ke$ha. "You watch, she's gonna end up being a rock singer, not a disco singer," said Cooper. "She wants to be Robert Plant, and she's a big tall American girl and she [can] really do it." Cooper's album is due Sept. 13, but listeners beware — spinning the disc may invoke the spirit of the devilish Ke$ha to pay you a visit in the form of your worst nightmare.

It's time for the name game. Of course, everyone knows you can't become a star using your given name. You need a name that sounds like, well, a star. We'll provide the artist's real name, and you guess the star who gave it up for fame and fortune, according to If you're able to guess them all (without looking…), you just may be fit to rock and roll all night with Chaim Witz.

A. Courtney Michelle Harrison
B. Onika Tanya Maraj
C. James Todd Smith
D. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
E. Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel
F. Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
G. Shad Gregory Moss
H. Eilleen Regina Edwards
I. Marco Antonio Muñiz
J. Chaim Witz
K. Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam
(answers below)

There were very few surprises in Forbes' Cash Kings 2011 list of top-earning hip-hop artists. Namely, who's on top, the list's testosterone level and the boasting, even from those who didn't finish No. 1. The former honor went to Jay-Z for the fourth time in the last five years. Familiar names rounded out the top 10, including Sean Diddy Combs at No. 2, Jay-Z's Watch The Throne partner Kanye West at No. 3, followed by Lil Wayne, Cash Money Records head Bryan "Birdman" Williams, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Akon, and Ludacris. The first, and only, woman, Nicki Minaj, checked in at No. 15. But in true hip-hop fashion, everyone was claiming victory. "If we ain't number one now, we'll be there soon," Birdman told Forbes. Fifteenth-place finisher Swizz Beatz (tied with Minaj) wrote in an email, "I will be #1 next year." As a breath of fresh air, checking in at No. 11, Wiz Khalifa seemed almost humbled by the whole thing. "I'm one of them?" he responded. "That's what's up!"

Name game answers:
A. Courtney Love
B. Nicki Minaj
C. LL Cool J
D. Lady Gaga
E. Seal
F. Katy Perry
G. Bow Wow
H. Shania Twain
I. Marc Anthony
J. Gene Simmons
K. Akon

The answer to last week's MTV trivia question: Do you know the second video that aired on MTV? Answer: Pat Benatar's "You Better Run"

LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock is tops on the Billboard Hot 100 and Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" featuring Christina Aguilera is No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

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