Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942. Renowned as a singer, songwriter, pianist and actress, Franklin had humble beginnings. For example, she used to sing gospel music as a child at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father was the minster. When she turned 18 years old, Franklin began her career with Columbia Records but only had moderate success. Finally, after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966, her sales grew commercial. Franklin quickly became known to the world as the “Queen of Soul” by the end of the 1960s.
Despite her strong presence in the music industry, Franklin was also a civil rights activist. She donated money to the cause and performed at benefits and protests. Franklin was even a supporter of Native American rights, and later her songs “Respect” and “Natural Woman” were adopted as anthems for social change.
Franklin recorded many acclaimed albums with Atlantic Records, such as “Lady Soul” (1968) and “Young, Gifted and Black” (1972). Though she left Atlantic Records in 1979, she went on to sign with Arista Records in the same year and continued to release hit songs. Franklin is now the most charted female artist in history, with 112 singles making it on Billboard.
Franklin received many awards throughout her career, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979. She was also the first female artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Then, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Franklin had a big year in 2005, as she was the second woman to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush. Lastly, to honor Franklin, her hometown of Detroit renamed a portion of Madison Street after her in 2017.
Beginning in 2010, Franklin began to cancel shows for various medical reasons, and with the release of her last album “A Brand New Me” (2017), she gave her last full concert. After her recent death on Aug. 16, 2018, “A Brand New Me” peaked at number two on Billboard’s top classical albums. Many loved her voice, including a lot of musical icons in the world like Elton John. She can be remembered for epitomizing the soul of music.
When Franklin died at age 76, thousands of news channels, celebrities and local communities paid tribute to her legacy. In November 2018, an all-star concert is scheduled to occur at Madison Square Garden in New York to honor Franklin’s music.