TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) Kim Cooke, former A&R rep for Warner Music Canada and one of the record company’s historians, recently saw one of his darlings, Aretha Franklin’s 30 Greatest Hits, debut on Billboards Top 200 at No. 7 shortly after Franklin passed away.
We asked Cooke for some reflection on the album, which originally dropped in 1985 and features liner notes from CelebrityAccess Senior Writer Larry LeBlanc:
The day of Aretha’s passing 30 Greatest Hits was No. 1 on iTunes in 11 countries and top 15 in 29. But this compilation did not emanate out of Atlantic directly.
It was my project as Atlantic’s Canadian Marketing Manager. It was assembled all throughout 1985 and released in Canada at the end of the year as double vinyl SD2 911 and cassette CS2 911. It was very well-received in Canada and Atlantic immediately picked it up for the U.S. and ROW, releasing it on CD as 81668.
The album went platinum (100,000 units in Canada) way back in the day and I believe is minimum gold in the U.S. if not much more.
There are literally hundreds of Aretha compilations in allmusic.com but 30 Greatest Hits, is their “pick” which is a source of great pride.
Larry LeBlanc wrote great notes and I went back to the source tapes and remastered everything in Canada.
The other cool thing is that this was pre-Eric Clapton box set, which kicked off the reissue craze, and pre-Rhino.
It’s an incredibly sad occasion but seeing the compilation in the top 10 in America 33 years after its release is mind-blowing.
My last point is that this was pure altruism, a salute to an artist I loved. I never received and never will receive a red cent from it, but am very proud of its reception globally.
Cooke spent more than 30 years in the recording industry, from a clerk in a Sam the Record Man store to senior VP at Warner Music Canada to general manager of MapleMusic Recordings before launching his own label, Pheromone Recordings, in 2011.