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TWENTY-FIVE years ago, give or take a week or two, Tim Strong had a chance meeting with Aretha Franklin. He was an awkward and unknown 18-year-old, one of nine children from a blue-collar family in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She was... well, the Queen of Soul.

Pop: The heart and soul of somebody else's gal

Jocelyn Brown has the voice of a diva and the career of a backing singer. But now she is reclaiming her star role. By Geoff Brown

POP: ALBUM REVIEWS

Supernaturals: A Tune for a Day (Food, below) The fact that the Supernaturals have an unhealthy appetite for limited-framework, new-wave guitars is just one of the reasons why this debut album so often slides into drabness. The Supernaturals palette is mostly jovial rock, with bounce in the melodies, but the songs belly-flop because they don't have the spark of class that, say, Dodgy found in themselves. An exception to this is the angry gem "Motorcycle Parts", but the Supernaturals are forever destined to lurk at the shallow end of sunny Brit rock. H

Pop music: A spiced-up supernova

Who do you think you are? Oasis? No, say Embrace. They're better than that.

Network: Signal failure caused by the wrong type of spam

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Music: Give my regards to Broadway

It's been a while since Kim Criswell gave her regards to Broadway. In another time, another place, she might have been big there. Hell, she might have been Ethel Merman. The comparison has been drawn before. Actually, the voice is quite different - sleeker, sharper, subtler. But the attitude... this lady's feisty, this lady's full-on, this lady's not for turning. One day she'll... "have the whole world on a plate"? Well, that's how the song goes, and she sings it like she knows the outcome.

Film: Landis turns a paler shade of Blue

The big picture

ARTS: CINEMA: The Blues Brothers just get younger

Despite the death of John Belushi, John Landis hasn't given up on the Blues Brothers. Nicholas Barber meets the director with a mission to entertain

Andy Gill's album round-up

GARBAGE Version 2.0 (Mushroom MUSH 29CD)

Rock: Music news

A grim reminder

Luciano Pavarotti named Person of the Year

Luciano Pavarotti with Aretha Franklin and members of the group Boyz II Men in New York yesterday, after the

Records: A tribute to bring on the tears

VARIOUS ARTISTS Diana, Princess Of Wales: Tribute (V2 VVR1001052)

Letters: Black Angels

Sir: Trevor Phillips ("Black Angels?", 15 November) mentioned Aretha Franklin and her right to a place in heaven. He ought also to have mentioned Roberta Flack. Way back in 1969 her debut album First Take included the song "Angelitos Negros", and she is quoted in the sleeve notes: "Painters, why do you always paint white virgins? Paint beautiful black angels."

Obituary: Lawrence Payton

Inclusion on the golden oldie format has spoiled many a record for the average listener, but with their breadth and their bounce "I Can't Help Myself", "It's the Same Old Song", "Reach Out (I'll Be There)", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Bernadette", "When She Was My Girl" and "Irresistible" by the Four Tops always sound fresh and vibrant and never fail to entice.

Eternal: God's girls?

Eternal dress to kill, sing about the plight of humanity and give thanks to the Lord. A typical touch of pop hypocrisy? Not at all, argues Emma Forrest. Like other divas, they're just praying to keep body and soul together
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Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

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Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
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Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

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Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

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New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
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Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

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Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map