The musical landscape has lost the queen of its soul.
Aretha Franklin, legendary R&B/Soul artists who paved the way for countless women in music, has died. She was 76.
Her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, shared the following statement, quoted by Rolling Stone:
“It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul... Franklin … passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds."
Franklin got her start singing at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father, C.L. Franklin, served as its pastor. C.L. Franklin was a popular pastor and was dubbed the man with the “Million-Dollar Voice.” He would travel around the United States delivering sermons and would also bring a young Aretha with him who would sing for the churches he visited.
While Franklin’s started her musical career singing gospel, she would transition to singing R&B/Soul when she signed a record deal with Columbia Records in 1960. Franklin would have moderate success with songs like 1961’s “Won’t Be Long” and “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” and 1964’s “Runnin’ Out Of Fools,” but it wasn’t until she signed with Atlantic Records in 1967 that she achieved superstardom.
In 1967 alone, Franklin scored four number-ones on the Billboard R&B Singles chart: “I Never Love a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Baby I Love You,” “Chain of Fools” and “Respect,” which would go on to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. From then on, there was no turning back for the woman dubbed “The Queen of Soul.”
In total, Franklin has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, won 18 GRAMMYs ,including the GRAMMY Legend award in 1991 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, was the first woman to inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and has earned countless additional honors and awards in her over six decades in music.
Queen? You better believe she was royalty, and no one will ever take her throne.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.