Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis but she is more closely associated with the city of Detroit than just about anyone who ever lived there. The Queen of Soul called the Motor City home from the time she was five until her death in 2018. The video for her 1985 hit “Freeway of Love” celebrated Aretha’s civic pride.
Released as the first single from Aretha Franklin’s thirtieth studio album (Who’s Zoomin’ Who?), “Freeway of Love” reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for five weeks in the summer of ’85. “Freeway of Love” earned Aretha her 12th Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
“Freeway of Love” was one of the most popular music videos of 1985. It was filmed entirely in the Detroit area and features quick shots of Ford and GM cars being built. Detroit’s iconic Motown Records is also shown, even though Franklin never recorded for that label. Clarence Clemons, the sax player from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, performed on the song and appears throughout the video as well.
A pink Cadillac appeared on the single’s cover and is mentioned several times in the lyrics, which is why more than 100 pink Cadillacs accompanied Aretha Franklin’s funeral procession in August 2018. The video was shot in black & white until the very end. That’s the only time you can see that the Cadillac is actually pink.