The impact of Aretha Franklin on the musical landscape cannot be overstated. Is there anyone in the English speaking world that does not know her name or her voice? It’s likely she’s known just about everywhere else too. The Queen of Soul has been a part of our lives for so many years, it’s hard to believe she’s gone. She departed this earthly realm today at the age of 76, yet her music remains immortal, forever to be heard, cherished and celebrated.
Like many others in her generation, Aretha began singing gospel. For her it began in her local Baptist church in Detroit where her father was minister. Later she became synonymous with the Motor City music scene, starting her professional career at the age of 18, first on Columbia Records and then Atlantic. Her work at the latter propelled her to stardom, as her hits “Think,” Carole King’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and the anthemic “Respect” became embedded in our cultural collective consciousness. As the sixties ended, she had earned the Queen of Soul moniker she was called for the rest of her days.
17 top 10 singles, 20 Number 1 R&B singles, film roles (Blues Brothers), 18 Grammys, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gospel Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 100 Artists of All Time -- just a few of the legion of triumphs in her long career. There will never be another like her. Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin, and thank you.