Rod Stewart to Sub For Ailing Aretha at Jazz Fest

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Aretha Franklin via her Facebook page in 2014

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival–better known simply as Jazz Fest–announced yesterday (March 16) that Aretha Franklin would not be able to perform at her previously scheduled April 28 appearance “on advice of her doctors.” The organizers quickly followed that up with news that Rod Stewart would step in for the soul music legend.

Lady Soul’s management, in a statement noted Franklin “has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months. She is extremely disappointed she cannot perform at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as she had expected and hoped to.”

NJPAC posted this news on its website on March 16

A March 25 performance on her upcoming 76th birthday on March 25 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark was also canceled.

When the talent for Jazz Fest 2018 was revealed on Jan. 23 for its two weekends, music fans embraced the lineup that the organizers had assembled. Classic rock fans were giddy with news of appearances by Aerosmith, Steve Miller Band, Sting, David Byrne, Smokey Robinson, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Buffett and Bonnie Raitt, among many others.

Other big names at the event, officially known as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, include Lionel Richie, George Benson, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Beck, Aaron Neville, Buddy Guy, Delbert McClinton, John Mayall, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. (See the complete daily lineups here.)

This year’s daily headliners: Sting (Apr. 27), Rod Stewart (Apr. 28), Jimmy Buffett and His Acoustic Airmen (Apr. 29), Lionel Richie (May 3), Beck (May 4), Aerosmith (May 5) and Jack White (May 6). (See the complete daily lineups here.)

Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.

Franklin’s place in the history will be assured. Since she first placed a single on the Billboard chart in 1961 (“Won’t Be Long,” on Columbia Records), she’s racked up an amazing 88 chart singles, including, of course, such timeless hits as “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” on Atlantic Records in the ’60s.

Related: A recently discovered 1972 interview with Columbia Records’ talent scout John Hammond on signing Aretha

She’s also had 46 chart albums and has won every conceivable award and honor possible, playing for presidents, winning an armload of Grammys, early induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors, National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Watch Franklin perform at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.

Stewart has a busy 2018 calendar including a tour with Cyndi Lauper opening. Tickets for his concerts are available here and here.

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