15 Feb: The Counterfeit Queen of Soul

Mary Jane Jones, known professionally as Vickie Jones, was arrested on fraud charges on 15th February, 1969 after successfully impersonating soul legend Aretha Franklin during multiple sold-out shows across Florida.

When her case ended up before a judge, Jones maintained her innocence, insisting that she had been press-ganged into the deception by conman, kidnapper and semi-professional James Brown impersonator, Lavelle Hardy. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly look at the surprising similarities between the lives of Jones and Franklin; discuss why audiences in the 1960s couldn’t tell real performers from fake ones; and ponder whether Jones deserves a little more R.E.S.P.E.C.T…  

Further Reading:

• ‘An Aretha Franklin Impersonator Fooled Fans (Then Became A Star)’ (Cracked, 2022): https://www.cracked.com/article_34398_an-aretha-franklin-impersonator-fooled-fans-then-became-a-star.html 

• ‘The Counterfeit Queen of Soul’ (Smithsonian magazine, 2018): 


• ‘The Bizarre Story of the Imitation Queen of Soul’ (Today I Found Out, 2021):


#60s #Person #Music #Strange #US