The Queen (of Soul) is Dead; Long Live the Queen
by Temerity Forthright
Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, died today at the age of 76. On August 13, it was reported that Franklin was gravely ill from advanced pancreatic cancer. Today she succumbed to her illness.
Franklin began her career in music after signing with Columbia Records in 1960 when she was just 18 years old. In 1967, she signed with Atlantic Records, where she recorded her iconic hits, such as “Respect” and “A Natural Woman.”
Aretha started being called “The Queen of Soul” by the end of the 1960s after she released several hit albums. Franklin recorded 112 singles that charted on Billboard, including 20 number one R&B singles. She won 18 Grammy Awards, selling over 75 million records worldwide.
In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first female performer inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. She is also listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
Franklin was awarded the Grammy Legend Award in 1991 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She was also a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994 and then received Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. Aretha received numerous honorary degrees from several prominent universities.
Aretha’s personal life was not as successful as her music career. She had four children, her first born when she was only 12 years old, her second when she was 14. She was married and divorced twice, but both marriages were short and neither produced children.
She was born in Memphis but grew up in Detroit. She moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s, moving back to Detroit in 1982 after her father was shot and left in a coma.
Franklin’s struggled with smoking and her weight most of her adult life. From 2010 to 2017, Aretha cancelled a number of performances, citing various health or medical reasons.
This morning Aretha Franklin died at her home in Detroit. She was 76 years old. The Queen of Soul died the same day as the King of Rock & Roll. Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42.
Aretha Franklin’s career spanned more than 60 years. She taught us all the meaning of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Image from usatoday.com