Rest In Power, Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul Has Transitioned

This morning, according to the Washington Post, it was reported that Aretha Franklin has passed away at the age of 76.

Aretha Franklin’s music touches the soul so deeply and moves the spirit so completely, that it is impossible to envision her legacy as anything other than one of the most soulful singers the world has ever seen. Her vocals, when she was in her prime, were enrapturing, uplifting and symphonic to the mind, body, and spirit.

Who knew that the ears could be the entry point into the very essence of the human condition? Who knew that a girl from Detroit would become one of the greatest American cultural exports of all-time? No one could know for certain, but there were some who had an idea very early on.

Aretha Franklin began her career singing at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. The black church, a place where hundreds of would-be soul singers before and after her began their dreams of singing. In the black church community, word gets around when there’s someone with an exceptional voice, and Franklin was something of a wunderkind within gospel music at a very young age.

Born to traveling preacher man Clarence LaVaughn “C.L.” Franklin and pianist Barbara Siggers in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin was one of three siblings born to the couple who also had children from other relationships prior to their marriage.

Aretha Franklin – Never Grow Old (young Aretha)

Aretha Franklin’s earliest recordings, made at the age of 14 at the New Baptist Bethel, Detroit, Michigan in the ’50s. . . ‘Never Grow Old’


The Franklin family moved to Buffalo, New York when Aretha was a baby, ultimately settling in Detroit when Aretha was five-years-old so he could take up pastorship of New Bethel Baptist Church. Rumors of infidelity resulted in the separation of Franklin’s parents in 1948, after which Barbara moved back to Buffalo.

Barbara Franklin died in 1952 when Aretha was just nine-years-old.  After the death of her mother, her grandmother Rachel and sister Erma became the primary caregivers for the younger children.

It was during this time that Aretha learned to master her voice, write music and play the piano. Franklin had her first child at 12-years-old, her second at 14-years-old and received maternal assistance from her grandmother, Rachel, and older sister Erma, who took turns raising them while Franklin was trying to make a name for herself.

Aretha Franklin – Ain’t No Way

Uploaded by Ivana on 2010-05-10.

Aretha was married twice, to Theodore White in 1966 and actor Glynn Turman in 1978, but had a long-term relationship with Willie Wilkerson, to whom she was engaged with twice before breaking off the engagements.

Aretha Franklin’s health has been the subject of many headlines throughout her stellar career.  From her battle with cigarettes and alcohol abuse to the subsequent weight fluctuations she dealt with as a result of permanently fasting from tobacco, her appearance was affected.  In 2011 she was reportedly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a claim she later refuted.

Aretha Franklin – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Uploaded by Revival on 2011-01-15.

Her voice is described by music scholars as being mezzo-soprano or half-soprano, which is the middle voice for woman singers in classical and non-classical music that sits between contralto on the low end and soprano on the higher end. Fans, scholars and casual listeners can all agree that Franklin could shriek with the greatest of sopranos and hit rock bottom notes with the best contralto singers. It is not unheard of to be able to do such things with a human voice, but it is certainly uncommon. Aretha was also a very good songwriter with an exceptional ear.

Jerry Wexler, the late record executives who first coined the phrase “rhythm and blues”, once said that Franklin’s voice “was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant.”

Something He Can Feel | Aretha Franklin

Aretha went off on this one!! My fav!!

Franklin started her secular career at 18-years-old with her father serving as manager. Originally signed to Colombia Records, Aretha’s career would ignite when she was signed to Atlantic Records in 1942. She would go on to record 42 studio albums, six live albums, 45 compilation albums and 131 singles over the course of her career. She also dominated the Billboard charts with 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and 112 total chartered singles. The 18-time Grammy Award-winner has sold over 75 million records worldwide to date and was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and 100 Greatest Singers of All Time issues.

The following is a list of her No. 1 R&B hit singles:

“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (1967)
“Respect” (1967)
“Baby I Love You” (1967)
“Chain of Fools” (1967)
“(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968)
“Think” (1968)
“Share Your Love with Me” (1969)
“Call Me” (1970)
“Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” (1970)
“Bridge over Troubled Water” (1971)
“Spanish Harlem” (1971)
“Day Dreaming” (1972)
“Angel” (1973)
“Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” (1973)
“I’m in Love” (1974)
“Something He Can Feel” (1976)
“Break It to Me Gently” (1977)
“Jump to It” (1982)
“Get It Right” (1983)
“Freeway of Love” (1985)

Aretha Franklin – Respect [1967] (Original Version)

Aretha Franklin – Respect Song written by Otis Redding Album: I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You [1967] _________________________ RESPECT (oo) What you want (oo) Baby, I got (oo) What you need (oo) Do you know I got it?

From gospel music prodigy, soulful pop singer and blues maven to R&B diva and world-renowned operatic singer, the voice of the ancestors could be heard in every utterance of every word that fell sweetly from her lips. The world has just lost one of the greatest voices, and talents, we have seen, and there will never be another Aretha.

Rest in Power Aretha Franklin.

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