The New York Times on David Ritz

Aretha_FranklinWe can still say David Ritz is a Dallas guy. Maybe. Kinda. Anyway, he has written a number of stories for the magazine, the most recent being “The Last Hat Salesman,” a meditation on his the occasion of his father’s passing. David’s one of the coolest people I’ve met. He’s filled with fascinating stories from a life of ghostwriting books for famous folks, many of them musicians. Some of those stories are about Aretha Franklin, who autobiography he ghostwrote. The process of writing that book was a difficult one for David, and though the book wound up an accurate portrayal of how Franklin sees herself (or how she wants the world to see herself), it didn’t wind up being what David hoped it could be. So he wrote a straight-up biography of the woman. “Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin,” was published last week. The Times says, “[I]t will stand as one of his greatest and most unusual achievements: a rich, definitive portrait set in motion by a bit of unfinished business.” You should read the entire article and consider buying the book.

Oh, and this is just one of five new books David will publish this year. He also wrote Joe Perry’s “Rocks: My Life in and out of Aerosmith.” And next year’s Willie Nelson autobiography will be David’s, too.

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Comments

  • TG/TJ61

    Cool? Right, I remember that word. It was popular in the ’60’s when, for example, high school classmate & family friend David Ritz kindly towed me a couple of times somewhere south of downtown past the old Dallas racial divide to the “Cool Jazz” spot mentioned in the article about his late father, Milton. It was a tiny place where top musicians must have been playing more for the fun of it and less for what must have been the little money earned; a place nowhere worth mentioning in the mainstream Dallas media of the time.

    Later on, in the 80’s, though, I heard a black delivery man mention that his Dallas employers were “cool”, meaning just about the opposite of what it did in the 60’s, i.e., “coolly indifferent” (to the devastating effect on him if they up & decided to fire him anytime they felt like it.)

    I’m guessing you mean “cool” in the white-haired ’60’s sense of yore. Personally, I would rate myself “cool” the other way if I published, say, a self-aggrandizing hatchet job on my late father in the same manner as DM’s David Ritz article on Milton. I’m glad I’m not on his “cool” list or yours.