Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dies @ 76

Respect! Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, has died at 76.

Aretha Franklin, March 25, 1942—August 16, 2018 (Image via Elle Magazine)

The cause was reportedly cancer.

It had been reported that Franklin was gravely ill in a Detroit hospital, and that her family should be prepared for the worst.

Franklin — considered one of the best voices of the last century — got her start singing in church, switching to a secular path by 1960. It wasn't until the latter part of the '60s that she signed with Atlantic Records, quickly becoming one of the most successful singers of all time.

A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and 18-time Grammy winner, Franklin's indelible hits number in the dozens, including "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You)," "Do Right Woman — Do Right Man," "Respect," "Baby I Love You," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools" (all 1967), "Think" (1968), "Jump to It" (1982), "Freeway of Love," "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" (duet with Eurythmics) (both 1985), "I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)" (duet with George Michael) (1987), and her final Top 40 hit, 1998's "A Rose Is Still a Rose."

As part of her '80s revival, Franklin's image was used in her honorary niece Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know?" (1985) music video.

Among her many pop and R&B hits, Franklin also contributed covers of some of the most popular songs of the era, always in her distinctive, rousing style.

Though never interested in acting, she appeared memorably in The Blues Brothers (1980).

Her cultural legacy would be hard to overstate, having influenced most popular and R&B singers in her wake, and becoming a symbol of African-American success so potent her Queen of Soul moniker was nearly literal — in the arts community, she was viewed as royalty.

Franklin was a Kennedy Center honoree, and received both the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The bow-hat she wore to the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama and a testy exchange she had with fellow legend Patti LaBelle became international memes during her later years, another testament to her singular nature.

Franklin's final performance was November 7, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. She had been close with John, a onetime duet partner.

She is survived by her four children and many other relatives.

1 Response

  1. Very well written. So sad to learn of her passing. Thanks for the article

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