Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dead at 76
Aretha Franklin, legendary soul singer and winner of 18 Grammy Awards, has died at the age of 76.
Known for her powerful, heartfelt singing style and countless hits, including “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Respect,” and “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You),” Aretha Franklin made her start in the world of music at the age of 14, recording her first album at her father’s church in 1956.
In the years following, Franklin enjoyed modest success, but it wouldn’t be until 1967 that she would set herself into the foundation of musical history with the album “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You).” Within weeks the album had hit the number one spot on the Billboard R&B charts, and number two on the Billboard Top 200. The now-classic tracks of “I Never Loved A Man” and “Respect” would make it to the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Single’s top ten list, with “Respect” hitting number one.
As the 70’s ended and the popularity of classic R&B waned, Aretha enjoyed a reintroduction to a younger generation with her unforgettable cameo in The Blues Brothers, a 1980 comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi
Aretha Franklin would go on to release a total of 48 albums and 131 singles. Her accolades are legion, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and 18 Grammy Awards. At over 75 million albums sold, she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and her work has inspired countless performers of every gender, race, and creed.
With the modern era’s growing trend of powerful female pop divas, Aretha Franklin’s importance cannot be overstated. The road to Beyonce, Mariah, Gaga, and countless others begins with Aretha.