Soul veteran Aretha Franklin decided to embark on her first tour in 21 years, after discovering she could travel around America without having to fly.

The THINK singer has an immense fear of flying, which has prevented her from boarding an airplane for two decades, but she's now realised she can at least tour her native US by sticking to road travel.

She says, "I haven't flown in more than 20 years. But I had to go to Albuquerque (on business) this year and I didn't really mind the drive there. It was actually quite pleasant.

"When I got there, I asked my bus driver how far it would be to go on to Las Vegas and LA and I said, 'Okay, I'm going there the next time I come to New Mexico.'

"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I'll have my books and my magazines and lots of CDs and DVDs. It's a nice way to travel."

10/09/2004 02:27