"American history wells up when Aretha sings", wrote President Obama, who asked Franklin to sing My Country 'Tis Of Thee at his inauguration ceremony. She later signed with Clive Davis' Arista Records.
Born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tenn., Franklin was the middle daughter of Barbara Siggers, a gospel singer who died when Aretha was only 9, and C.L. Franklin, a traveling preacher who settled down to become the socially progressive minister of Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church. Franklin's publicist confirmed she passed on Thursday morning, August 16, according to The Associated Press. "I am retiring this year", she told WDIV Local 4 in Detroit early in 2017, per Rolling Stone.
"She knew how to be glamorous and graceful". It was never the other way around. The 1998 Grammys gave her a chance to demonstrate her range.
But her career really took off after moving to Atlantic Records in 1966 and beginning a collaboration with legendary producer Jerry Wexler that would result in 14 albums together. "Two more top 10 singles, "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" and "Baby I Love You" quickly followed, setting the tone for an illustrious career full of accolades.
Respect was an interesting one. Her 1967 hit "Respect" is the ultimate civil rights and feminist anthem and will forever be known as her signature song. If its not the most empowering pop song ever, its in the conversation. "It was the right song at the right time". "I will miss you!"
Franklin leaves behind her four sons - Clarence, Edward, Teddy and Kecalf.
Franklin was also recognized by more than one commanders in chief.
In 1987, Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Personally, the star struggled with her weight throughout most of her life and had been a longtime smoker.
She was regarded as being single-minded in her determination to put her interests first, underlined by her leaving her first two children behind in Detroit with older relatives as she sought success musical elsewhere. Aretha was a rising star in the R&B world but to reach the next level of stardom, she knew she had to shake things up.
Her similarly titled debut album with her new label also contained one of her most popular hits, (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman.
Upstaging Pavarotti and making the president cry: All in a days work for the worlds greatest singer. But past year, she announced her semi-retirement, saying she was no longer going to perform regularly after the release of her newest album, "A Brand New Me". Concerts scheduled so far in 2018, including one headlining the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, had already been canceled on doctors orders.
Aretha Franklin sings at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2009.
The "Queen of Soul" was an 18-time Grammy victor with gospel roots and had an inarguable impact on popular culture.
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