Aretha Franklin is more than just a singer, songwriter and pianist; she is a legend and known as the “Queen of Soul”. Born in Tennessee in the year 1942, Aretha Franklin began singing at the tender age of ten in her father’s church, and began recording songs a few years later. Straying away from her gospel upbringing, she began her pop music career at the age of eighteen, and signed with Columbia Records only to later leave Columbia for Atlantic Records where her career really soared. It was here that she recorded her popular hits such as “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools” and “Respect”; the song Aretha is most known for.
Following the success of her first hit singles, Aretha recorded multiple albums including a gospel record “Amazing Grace” which went on to become the biggest selling gospel album in over 25 years. She is credited with the successful singles of “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and the soundtrack to the 1970’s movie, “Sparkle”. Her legendary career was extremely prominent during the American Civil Right’s movement, and her soulful sound was called “the driving anthem of the civil rights movement”. She was also known as the voice of “Black America” and provided the “soundtrack” to the Civil Right’s movement as she had a great friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and mirrored some of the lines from his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” in her song lyrics.
Throughout her lengthy career, Aretha Franklin has earned 18 Grammys, received two honorary Grammys (The Grammy Legend Award an the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award), was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the second woman to be inducted in the UK Music Hall of Fame and is set to be inducted in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in August 2012. She earned a Doctorate of Music from Princeton University, an honorary Doctorate in Music from Yale University and received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. She was even ranked in Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list.
Having produced countless number one hits, sold millions of albums and won numerous awards recognizing her extraordinary music talent and service to the community, Aretha Franklin is not only iconic in music and in African American history, but she is an icon in world history, and will have a legacy for years to come.