The Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, has failed to fight off serious illness and has passed away in Detroit at the age of 76.
The word “legend” is bandied about all too freely nowadays, but in describing Franklin as such there’s no exaggeration – she was absolutely the real deal.
Possessing a singing voice that could be stop-you-in-your-tracks powerful one moment, then as sweet as honey the next, she leaves behind a legacy of classic recordings, and many a lasting memory that’s tied to her works.
Franklin started out singing in a gospel choir as a child, before signing a mainstream record deal at the age of 18. It wasn’t until several years later, however, that her career really clicked, signing to Atlantic Records and unleashing waves of classic hits. While those that come to mind instantly are the likes of her Otis Redding cover Respect (which she totally made her own), I Say a Little Prayer (originally a B-side!) and (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman, Franklin clocked up 77 top 100 charting singles over almost 60 years of recording. In this time, she sold over 75 million records worldwide.
This dominance was reflected on her awards shelf, with 18 Grammys to her name and her being the first ever woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As well as her remarkable soul career, Franklin also delved deeply into the pop pool, with some notable collaborations along the way including the anthem Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves with Eurythmics, I Knew You Were Waiting for Me with George Michael, and other pairings with everybody from Frank Sinatra to Whitney Houston.
Many will also know Franklin for her show-stopping appearance in The Blues Brothers, performing her ‘60s hit Think and reaching a whole new audience through the movie’s ongoing cult status.
The world has lost one of its greatest ever voices today. Vale Aretha Louise Franklin, Queen of Soul.