"Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul", has passed away at the age of 76.

With a voice as powerful as it was elegant, Franklin was the original "diva" who laid the foundation for many future singers.

Born on March 25th, 1942, Franklin's family moved to Detriot where her career would officially take off. Her pastor father C.L. Franklin was passionate and fiery, so it would make sense that Aretha followed suit in the church choir. After she turned 15 years old, that's when the record companies started ringing.

Despite getting her start in the Motor City, Franklin never signed on to Motown Records. After turning down an offer from Motown, Altantic Records wanted to bring her on board due to her gosbel background, but Franklin signed on with Columbia Records, who were attracted by her jazzy touch.

Dominating the charts with hit songs like "I Never Loved A Man," "Chain of Fools," "Natural Woman," and an iconic Otis Redding cover that made her a staple in American culture, "RESPECT."

After being crowned the "Queen of Soul", Franklin was seen as the face of '60s black America. Detroit Mayor Jerry Cavanaugh announced "Aretha Franklin Day" in 1968 and was able to share the honor with Martin Luther King two months before his assassination.

Despite having a few breaks in her career, every one of Franklin's comebacks was huge. Whether it was her cameo in the "Blues Brothers" film, to her 1985 album Who's Zoomin' Who? with her hit song "Freeway of Love."

In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was held with such high regard as American music royalty that after iconic opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti fell ill, she filled in for him only 30 minutes before showtime with a stunning rendition of "Nessun Dorma."

In 2005, Franklin emotionally accepted the Presidental Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, and sang at the 2008 inauguration of President Barak Obama.

Franklin passed away due to advanced pancreatic cancer on August 16th, 2018.

RIP Aretha Franklin