Aretha Frankin, Queen Of Soul, Dead At 76
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died Thursday morning after a long battle with cancer.
Franklin was surrounded by friends and family at the time of her passing, with Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson traveling to visit her earlier this week. Yesterday, news outlets reported that Franklin was alert, talking and laughing according to her nephew, but others apparently knew that she could pass at any moment.
Born in Memphis, Tennessee to preacher Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” and Barbara Franklin, a pianist and vocalist, Aretha, her parents and siblings moved to Detroit, Michigan by the time she was five years old. Franklin started singing in church at the age of 10, shortly after the passing of her mother, with the song “Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me” as her first selection. By the time she was 14, she was touring with a gospel caravan performing in churches around the country.
By the time she was 18, Franklin told her father that she would like to sing pop music instead of strictly gospel. Her father recorded a demo for Columbia Records and she was signed in 1960. Within a year of being with the label, Franklin was charting.
She signed to Atlantic Records in 1967 when her career started exploding with songs like “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man“, and a cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” later used as a Civil Rights and Feminist anthem.
The hits followed throughout Franklin’s 60 year career earning her 18 Grammys and the moniker “Queen of Soul.”
Franklin was tapped by two presidents to sing at their inauguration ceremonies, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George Bush.
Franklin was 76 and is survived by her four sons.