Transcript for 'Amazing Grace': Exclusive look at never-aired footage of Aretha Franklin
Reporter: Intimate, transcendent. Aretha Franklin as she's never been seen before. A new documentary, nearly 50 years in the making. ��� ��� never-aired footage of the queen of soul, recording her legendary gospel album, "Amazing grace", the best-selling gospel album of all time. She barely speaks five words, but when she opens her mouth, as some in that church might say, "Glory came out." ��� ��� It's just a testament to good spiritual music. Reporter: We sat down with those closest to Franklin. You know, America lost a legend. You lost a mother. You lost an aunt. What was it like watching this performance? I was very touched. I welled up in a couple parts. Reporter: You weren't the only one. It was the early '70s. The then 29-year-old still a diva in the making. 11 number one records in a row. Reporter: She'd already earned our respect as the queen of soul. ��� ��� Reporter: She made us sing. Her songs astound track for the several rights era. But to her son, the larger than life diva was just mom. What kind of mom was she? Very loving. Always looking out for my best interests. She was just aunt Aretha. She loved to cook. She loved her soap operas. She loved Madea. Reporter: She was most at home here notice church. She always took America to church. If you ever attended any of her concerts, you were going to church before you went there. Reporter: Her father, a renowned reverend, CL Franklin. Aretha is just a stone singer. Reporter: In 1972, she partnered with the gospel great, reverend James Cleveland. She can sing anything. Anything. Reporter: His choir singing backup in the L.A. Neighborhood of Watts. I bass blown away to see Mick jagger in the rear swaying to the music. They're both atlantic record label mates. And Mick knew where the action was. Reporter: Sidney Pollack and his crew were there, too. She saw this as that chance to become a movie star. Reporter: But the production team forgot one important tool. A clapper that allows you to synch audio to the reels and reels of film. Years later, he called in his old apprentice. Oh, man, how disappointed that he must have been. He spent three months looking at footage, daily, and he could only synch up 12% of the stuff. Reporter: So it's like putting together a million-piece jigsaw puzzle? Right. Reporter: With the advent of digital technology decades later, it became possible. Is the legend true that you mortgaged your house to get the rights? Yes, it is. Reporter: That's how much you believed in it. But once the film was made he received an unexpected splice. First sued in 2015 by the queen herself. When Aretha sued me, I had no idea why she's suing me. And she said she loved the movie, which was a harder thing to figure out. Reporter: When she passed away last year, Franklin's niece asked him to screen the film for the family. And they were sold. You think you're feeling it and when you see it, it's just very transformative. ��� ��� Reporter: In her first song, which is, I think "Holy holy". I don't think she opens her eyes through the entire performance. To us, that's like the moment, her zone moment. Very much. When she would go into concerts, she'd go into a zone. When she closes her eyes, she's not hearing anything else around her. It's all about her performance and what she's doing. One, she's in the church. And two, she's also making a recording. These are the two things that are the holiest of holy to her. Reporter: With the body of work that spans six decades, hit after hit inspired by her gospel roots, all unmistakably Aretha. ��� Like a natural woman ��� Reporter: The natural woman, just as comfortable singing on stage alongside fellow pop divas as she was performing for presidents. ��� You make me feel ��� are your even bringing president Obama to tears at the Kennedy center honors. ��� You make me feel like a natural woman ��� Reporter: Franklin, a die-hard Democrat, crossed the aisle to perform a due et cetera with former secretary of state condoleezza rice. ��� Forever, and ever ��� I heard someone say that she played with the symphony. And I said, condoleezza rice plays with the symphony? Plays what? The piano. This, I had to hear. Reporter: Aretha excelled across genres, even making her unique mark in opera. ��� ��� Reporter: But it wasn't just her singing that impressed her adoring fans. It was also her musicality. I think some of the best parts of her concerts is when she got on the piano. She played by ear. And she was gift Netherlands she was gifted in that sense. We joked. She could play anything. Reporter: What do you want audiences to rediscover? Her love for the gospel and for the church. And that, I think it's very, very relevant to the days and times that we're living in right
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