Aretha Franklin
American singer
Aretha Franklin
Aretha Louise Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" list, as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys.
Biography
Aretha Franklin's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Aretha Franklin from around the web
Clemson Doctoral Student Creates Rap Album On Blackness For Dissertation
Huffington Post - 5 days
A Clemson University Ph.D. candidate decided to forgo a traditional dissertation for a more creative platform: a 34-track rap album.  A.D. Carson wanted to use hip-hop and spoken word to explore the areas of identity, justice economics, citizenship and language for his rhetorics, communication and information design program. So he wrote and produced “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions” He’s the first Clemson student to opt out of the traditional, written form. "https://soundcloud.com/sets/term-1-mixtape" A post shared by A.D. Carson (@aydeethegreat) on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:30pm PST In an article for the campus outlet, Carson said the project isn’t meant as a gimmick, but his way of discussing the role race and identity plays in society today. “The central thesis of my dissertation is: Are certain voices treated differently?” Carson said. “I’m trying to examine how an authentically identifiable black voice might be used or acc ...
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Dear Beyhive: Stop Whining. Beyonce Still Hasn't Earned Her Album Of The Year Grammy
Huffington Post - 12 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); It’s funny. With all of the furor over Beyonce’s losing the Album of the Year Grammy for the third time, you’d think Katy Perry or Britney Spears had snatched the prize out of Queen Bey’s outstretched hands. But people, she was beaten by Adele. While I personally think there wasn’t much to 25 beyond “Hello” (for me, 19 remains Adele’s strongest album-length work), are we really going to start slamming an artist as important as the Brit with the big, boomin ...
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Aretha Franklin Fast Facts
CNN - 14 days
View the Aretha Franklin Fast Facts on CNN and learn more about the life of the "Queen of Soul."
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CNN article
Singer Aretha Franklin 'Retiring This Year'
ABC News - 18 days
"This will be my last year in concert," she said. "This is it."
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ABC News article
Aretha Franklin to retire from full time touring
Reuters.com - 18 days
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Soul music legend Aretha Franklin says she plans to retire from full-time touring after she releases a new album in September.
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Reuters.com article
A Look Back At 28 Memorable 'Soul Train' Performances
Huffington Post - 26 days
In 1970, Don Cornelius created the first musical television show catered to black audiences with the cultural phenomenon of “Soul Train.” Launched as a local television program in Chicago in 1970, the music variety show ― hosted by Cornelius ― was syndicated in other national markets a year later and it ran until 2006. Similar to Dick Clark’s music-performance show “American Bandstand,” “Soul Train” featured guests dancing to latest music hits and served as a platform to showcase black music acts, including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Janet Jackson, and Destiny’s Child.  The influential show also spawned the creation of the Soul Train dance line and, eventually became the longest running nationally-syndicated music program in television history. Cornelius said during a 2010 USA Today interview that he launched the show to give viewers an alternative to then-popular talk shows, “The Mike Douglas Show,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” which were mostly targete ...
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One U2 Song Has Defined A Decade Of Important Moments For Barack Obama
Huffington Post - about 1 month
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); One song has threaded together the biggest moments in President Barack Obama’s career: “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, featured on the group’s 2004 album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.” Obama first used the music when he announced his presidential campaign at a rally in Springfield, Illinois, in February 2007. The distorted guitar, heavy bass and four piano notes at the start of the song quickly became synonymous with the then-senator’s campaign. It ...
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My TV Wish List for Future: Latin-Culture Network but with English Dialogue
Huffington Post - about 1 month
By Amanda Osorio UCF Forum columnist I am watching beautiful, empowering African American women being celebrated on a BET show called Black Girls Rock! The audience is full of African Americans celebrating their accomplishments, and network CEO Debra Lee and first lady Michelle Obama come out onstage to address these successful women. I am watching with the feeling of awe and empowerment for myself, but as a Latin woman instead. Then I stop for minute and ask my mother, "Why isn't there a Latin network like BET?" She replied, "There is: Univision and Telemundo." I flip to them during the commercial break and watch. "It's in Spanish," I responded. "You asked for a Latin network. There it is," she said. I can't accept this. I didn't grow up watching a predominately Spanish-speaking network. I speak English and my favorite shows do not consist of Spanish soap operas or outrageous game shows made for my abuela in the middle of the afternoon. The Latin network I look fo ...
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These Trans People Want Jackie Evancho To Dump Trump Inauguration
Huffington Post - about 1 month
Jackie Evancho may be “excited” to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, but one group is hoping that the 16-year-old classical crossover singer will change her mind.  Six transgender people from across the country joined forces to create the above video, “Dear Jackie...,” with the aim of getting “America’s Got Talent” veteran to reconsider her Jan. 20 performance. In recent weeks, media outlets have been quick to point out that Evancho’s sister, Juliet, identifies as transgender and is one of three trans students suing a Pennsylvania school district over their right to use restrooms that best correspond with their gender identity. In the weeks since Evancho committed to the performance, she’s faced a barrage of criticism on social media for her apparent support of Trump, particularly given the fact that her sister is trans. (Never mind that she’s not yet legally able to vote.) But as the video’s participants explain, Evancho would be in a uniq ...
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20 Female Empowerment Anthems That Will Get You Pumped For The Women's March
Huffington Post - about 2 months
This article is adapted from a post originally published on my blog, Musings from The FeMOMist, on June 1, 2016. To read the original piece, click here. Are you planning to march on January 21st, either in Washington, DC at the Women’s March on Washington, or at one of the sister marches throughout the country? I know that I am, and I am hopeful that the March will be an epic turning point for women’s rights in this country; possibly the one silver lining to come out of the 2016 election. The March is about justice and equality for all women, which shouldn’t be a controversial concept, yet pop culture and our society at large are constantly sending messages to girls and women that justice and equality is overrated or is somehow unnecessary. Cue these fierce anthems of female empowerment, recorded by women artists from the 1960s until the present, which help combat patriarchal notions that are deeply engrained in our psyches. Why not make a playlist and play it on an endless loo ...
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Pop Star George Michael Dead At 53
Huffington Post - 2 months
UPDATE: Dec. 26 ― George Michael died of heart failure, according to his longtime manager Michael Lippman. PREVIOUSLY: LONDON, Dec 25 (Reuters) - British singer George Michael, who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! and then forged a career as a successful solo artist with sometimes sexually provocative lyrics, died at his home in England on Sunday. He was 53. In the mid-1980s, “Wham! was one of the most successful pop duos ever, ahead even of Simon & Garfunkel, with singles like “”Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “”Careless Whisper”, ““Last Christmas” and ““The Edge of Heaven”. “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his publicist said in a statement. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage,” the statement said. British police said Michael’s death ...
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Idina Menzel Says 'Karma' Is Behind Donald Trump's Rumored Inauguration Day Problems
Huffington Post - 2 months
While President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebrations featured performances by megastars Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé, President-elect Donald Trump was reportedly having a more difficult time finding a singer. When Vanity Fair asked “Let It Go” singer Idina Menzel about those rumors on Wednesday night, she shared a theory.  “I think it’s karma, baby,” she told the outlet. “I mean, look: All the artists in the world got up and tried to get our girl [Hillary Clinton] elected, and it still didn’t happen, so we’re all still trying to recover from that.” Against tradition, zero local Washington, D.C., marching bands are planning to participate in the festivities on Jan. 20. This week, 16-year-old Jackie Evancho announced she will sing at the event on the “Today” show; classical singer Andrea Bocelli is slated to perform a duet with her. The 2017 inauguration may have more in common with former President George W. Bush’s second ceremony in 2005. The day’s events featured several ...
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Things to do in Chicago this weekend: Twin Peaks, Aretha Franklin, Breakfast with Santa and more
Chicago Times - 2 months
Chicago Tribune critics and editors help you pick the best things to do in Chicago this weekend.
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Chicago Times article
'Hamilton' star Phillipa Soo on bringing the magic of 'Amelie' to the stage
LATimes - 3 months
When Phillipa Soo was growing up in suburban Chicago, she would climb onto her parents’ coffee table in her pink tutu to perform. There, before a rapt audience of her brother and stuffed animals, she’d belt out Aretha Franklin songs at the top of her lungs.   The performer has come a long way from...
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LATimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Aretha Franklin
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 72
    "American history wells up when Aretha sings", president Obama explained his emotional response to her performance of "A Natural Woman" at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll--the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope".
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    In December 2015 Franklin gave an acclaimed performance of "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors during the section for honoree Carole King, who co-wrote the song.
    More Details Hide Details During the bridge of the song, Ms. Franklin dropped her fur coat to the stage, for which the audience rewarded her with a mid-performance standing ovation. Franklin has often been described as a great singer and musician due to "vocal flexibility, interpretive intelligence, skillful piano-playing, her ear, her experience." Franklin's voice has been described as being a "powerful mezzo-soprano voice" and has been praised for her arrangements and interpretations of other artists' hit songs. Of describing Franklin's voice as a youngster on her first album, Songs of Faith, released when she was just fourteen, Jerry Wexler explained that Franklin's voice "was not that of a child but rather of an ecstatic hierophant." Franklin's image went through rapid changes throughout her career. During the 1960s, Franklin was known for wearing bouffant hairdos and extravagant dresses that were sometimes embellished with either mink fur or feathers. In the 1970s, embracing her roots, Franklin briefly wore an Afro and the Afrocentric styled clothing admired by her peers. In the mid-1970s, after dropping weight, Franklin began wearing more fitted attire. By the 1980s, she had settled on wearing evening gowns and extravagant dresses.
  • 2014
    Age 71
    Franklin received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2014, as well as honorary doctorates in music from Princeton University, 2012; Yale University, 2010; Berklee College of Music, 2006; New England Conservatory of Music, 1995; and University of Michigan, 1987.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Wayne State University in 1990 and an honorary Doctor of Law by Bethune-Cookman College in 1975.
    Asteroid 249516 Aretha was named in her honor in 2014.
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    In October 2014 Franklin became the first woman to have 100 songs on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with the success of her cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", which debuted at number 47 on the chart.
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    Franklin's cover of "Rolling in the Deep" would be featured among nine other songs in her first RCA release, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, released on October 21, 2014.
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    On September 29, 2014, Franklin performed to a standing ovation, with Cissy Houston as backup, a compilation of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" on the Late Show with David Letterman.
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    She launched a multi-city tour beginning the summer of 2014, starting with a June 14 performance in New York at the Radio City Music Hall.
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    Franklin is a registered Democrat. In 2014, she was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from Harvard University for her contributions to music.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin dealt with weight issues for years. In 1974, she dropped during a crash diet and maintained her new weight until the end of the decade. Franklin again lost the weight in the early 1990s before gaining some back. A former chain smoker who struggled with alcoholism, she quit smoking in 1992. Franklin admitted in 1994 that her smoking was "messing with my voice", but after quitting smoking she said later, in 2003, that her weight "ballooned".
    As of 2014, Franklin is now signed under RCA Records, controller of the Arista catalog and a sister label to Columbia via Sony Music Entertainment, and is currently working again with Clive Davis.
    More Details Hide Details A new album is in the works with producers Babyface and Danger Mouse planning to work with Franklin.
  • 2013
    Age 70
    Franklin has since returned to live performing, including a 2013 Christmas concert at Detroit's Motor City Casino.
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    During a phone interview with The Associated Press in late August, 2013 Franklin stated that she had a "miraculous" recovery from her undisclosed illness but had to cancel shows and appearances until she was at 100% health, stating she was "85% healed".
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    In May 2013, Franklin canceled two performances to deal with an undisclosed medical treatment.
    More Details Hide Details Later in the same month, Franklin canceled three more concerts in June and planned to return to perform in July. However, a July 27 show in Clarkston, Michigan was canceled due to continued medical treatment. In addition, Franklin canceled an appearance at an MLB luncheon in Chicago honoring her commitment to civil rights on an August 24 date. She also canceled a September 21 performance in Atlanta due to her health recovery.
  • 2012
    Age 69
    Franklin eventually called the 2012 engagement off.
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  • 2011
    Age 68
    On May 19, 2011 Aretha Franklin had her comeback show in the Chicago theatre.
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    Discussing the surgery in 2011, she quoted her doctor as saying it would "add 15 to 20 years" to her life.
    More Details Hide Details She denied that the ailment had anything to do with pancreatic cancer, as it was rumored.
    Following news of Franklin's surgery and recovery in February 2011, the Grammys ceremony paid tribute to the singer with a medley of her classics performed by Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Yolanda Adams.
    More Details Hide Details That same year she was ranked among the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time top artists, and ranked first on the Rolling Stone list of Greatest Singers of All Time. Inducted to the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, Franklin has been described as "the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America" and a "symbol of black equality".
  • 2010
    Age 67
    In 2010, Franklin canceled a number of concerts after she decided to have surgery for an undisclosed tumor.
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    In 2010, Franklin accepted an honorary degree from Yale University.
    More Details Hide Details In 2011, under her own label, Aretha's Records, she issued the album, Aretha: A Woman Falling Out Of Love.
  • 2008
    Age 65
    She was the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year, performing at the Grammys days later.
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  • 2006
    Age 63
    Franklin performed The Star Spangled Banner with Aaron Neville and Dr. John for Super Bowl XL, held in her hometown of Detroit in February 2006.
    More Details Hide Details She later made international headlines for performing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony with her church hat becoming a popular topic online.
  • 2004
    Age 61
    In 2004, Franklin announced that she was leaving Arista after over 20 years with the label.
    More Details Hide Details To complete her Arista obligations, Franklin issued the duets compilation album, Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen, in 2007. The following year, she issued the holiday album, This Christmas, Aretha, on DMI Records.
  • 2003
    Age 60
    Her final Arista album, So Damn Happy, was released in 2003 and featured the Grammy-winning song, "Wonderful".
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  • FIFTIES
  • 2002
    Age 59
    Franklin's half-brother Vaughn died two months after Erma in late 2002.
    More Details Hide Details Half-sister Carl Kelley (née Jennings; born 1940) is still alive at 74. Kelley is C. L. Franklin's daughter by Mildred Jennings, a then 12-year-old congregant of New Salem Baptist Church in Memphis, where C. L. was pastor. Franklin was performing at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, on June 10, 1979, when her father C. L. was shot twice at point blank range in his Detroit home. After six months at Henry Ford Hospital, still in a state of coma, C.L. was moved back to his home with 24-hour nursing care. Aretha moved back to Detroit in late 1982 to assist with the care of her father, who died at Detroit's New Light Nursing Home on July 27, 1984. Some of her music business friends have included Dionne Warwick, Mavis Staples, and Cissy Houston, who began singing with Franklin as members of the Sweet Inspirations. Cissy sang background on Franklin's classic hit "Ain't No Way". Franklin first met Cissy's daughter, Whitney, in the early 1970s. She was made Whitney's honorary aunt, and Whitney often referred to her as "Auntie Ree". Whitney died on February 11, 2012. Franklin stated she was surprised by her death. She had initially planned to perform at Houston's memorial service on February 18, but her representative claimed that Franklin suffered a leg spasm and was unable to attend. In response to criticism of her non-attendance, she stated, "God knows I wanted to be there, but I couldn't."
  • 1998
    Age 55
    In 1998, Franklin returned to the top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced song, "A Rose Is Still a Rose", later issuing the album of the same name, which went gold.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, Franklin earned international acclaim for her performance of "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammy Awards.
    In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria "Nessun dorma", at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti.
    More Details Hide Details Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with "A Rose Is Still a Rose". Franklin's other popular and well known hits include "Rock Steady", "Something He Can Feel" (from the soundtrack to the 1976 film Sparkle), "Jump to It", "Freeway of Love", "Who's Zoomin' Who", "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves", "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (with George Michael), "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be" (with Whitney Houston) and a remake of The Rolling Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, in which she placed number 9, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in which she placed number 1.
  • 1994
    Age 51
    Franklin was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin become the second woman inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • 1993
    Age 50
    Franklin returned to the charts in 1993 with the dance song "A Deeper Love" and returned to the top 40 with the song "Willing to Forgive" in 1994.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1991
    Age 48
    NARAS awarded her a Grammy Legend Award in 1991, then the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
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    Franklin's 1991 album, What You See is What You Sweat, flopped on the charts.
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  • 1989
    Age 46
    Franklin's sisters Erma and Carolyn were professional musicians as well and spent years performing background vocals on Franklin's recordings. Following Franklin's divorce from Ted White, her brother Cecil became her manager, and maintained that position until his death from lung cancer on December 26, 1989.
    More Details Hide Details Sister Carolyn died the previous year in April 1988 from breast cancer, while eldest sister Erma passed from throat cancer in September 2002.
  • 1988
    Age 45
    Franklin and Wilkerson had had two previous engagements stretching back to 1988.
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  • 1987
    Age 44
    In 1987, she issued her third gospel album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which was recorded at her late father's New Bethel church, followed by Through the Storm in 1989.
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  • 1985
    Age 42
    In 1985, inspired by her desire to have a "younger sound" in her music, her fifth Arista album, Who's Zoomin' Who?, became her first album to be certified platinum, after selling well over a million copies, thanks to the hits, "Freeway of Love", the title track and "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves".
    More Details Hide Details The following year's Aretha album nearly matched this success with the hit singles "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Jimmy Lee" and "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me", her international number-one duet with George Michael. During that period, Franklin provided vocals to the theme songs of the shows, A Different World and Together.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1982
    Age 39
    Franklin and Turman separated in 1982 after Franklin returned to Michigan from California, and they divorced in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details At one point, Franklin had plans to walk down the aisle with longtime companion Willie Wilkerson.
  • 1981
    Age 38
    The follow-up, 1981's Love All the Hurt Away, included her famed duet of the title track with George Benson while the album also included her Grammy-winning cover of Sam & Dave's "Hold On, I'm Comin'".
    More Details Hide Details Franklin returned to the Gold standard– for the first time in seven years– with the album, Jump to It. Its title track was her first top 40 single on the pop charts in six years.
  • 1980
    Age 37
    In 1980, after leaving Atlantic Records, Franklin signed with Clive Davis' Arista Records and that same year gave a command performance at the Royal Albert Hall in front of Queen Elizabeth.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin also made an acclaimed guest role as a waitress in the comedy musical, The Blues Brothers. Franklin's first Arista album, Aretha, featured the #3 R&B hit, "United Together" and her Grammy-nominated cover of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose".
  • 1979
    Age 36
    Franklin's follow-up albums for Atlantic including Sweet Passion, Almighty Fire and La Diva bombed on the charts and in 1979, Franklin opted to leave the company.
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  • 1978
    Age 35
    She then married her second husband, actor Glynn Turman, on April 11, 1978 at her father's church.
    More Details Hide Details By marrying Turman, Franklin became stepmother of Turman's three children from a previous marriage.
  • 1976
    Age 33
    Records in 1976, Franklin worked on the soundtrack to the film, "Sparkle", with Curtis Mayfield.
    More Details Hide Details The album yielded Franklin's final top 40 hit of the decade, "Something He Can Feel", which also peaked at number-one on the R&B chart.
  • 1975
    Age 32
    Franklin continued having R&B success with songs such as "Until You Come Back to Me" and "I'm in Love" but by 1975, her albums and songs were failing to become a success.
    More Details Hide Details After Jerry Wexler left Atlantic for Warner Bros.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1971
    Age 28
    In 1971, Franklin became the first R&B performer to headline Fillmore West, later recording the live album, Aretha Live at Fillmore West.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin's career began experiencing issues while recording the album, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), which featured production from Quincy Jones. Despite the success of the single, "Angel", the album bombed upon its release in 1973.
  • 1969
    Age 26
    After a contentious marriage that involved domestic violence, she divorced White in 1969.
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  • 1968
    Age 25
    In June 1968, she appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin's success expanded during the early 1970s in which she recorded top ten singles such as "Spanish Harlem", "Rock Steady" and "Day Dreaming" as well as the acclaimed albums, Spirit in the Dark, Young, Gifted & Black and her gospel album, Amazing Grace, which sold over two million copies.
    On February 16, 1968, Franklin was honored with a day in her honor and was greeted by longtime friend Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave her the SCLC Drum Beat Award for Musicians just two months before his death.
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    In February 1968, Franklin earned the first two of her Grammys including the debut category for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
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    In 1968, she issued the top-selling albums, Lady Soul and Aretha Now, which included some of Franklin's most popular hit singles including "Chain of Fools", "Ain't No Way", "Think" and "I Say a Little Prayer".
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  • 1967
    Age 24
    Franklin's debut Atlantic album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, also became commercially successful, later going gold. Franklin scored two more top ten singles in 1967 including "Baby I Love You" and "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman".
    More Details Hide Details Franklin's rapport with producer Jerry Wexler helped in the creation of the majority of Franklin's peak recordings with Atlantic.
    In January 1967, choosing not to renew her Columbia contract after six years with the company, Franklin signed to Atlantic Records.
    More Details Hide Details That month, she traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record at FAME Studios to record the song, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" in front of the musicians of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. The song was later issued that February and shot up to number-one on the R&B chart, while also peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Franklin her first top ten pop single. The song's b-side, "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man", reached the R&B top 40, peaking at number 37. In April, Atlantic issued her frenetic version of Otis Redding's "Respect", which shot to number-one on both the R&B and pop charts and later became her signature song and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist anthem.
  • 1965
    Age 22
    She had two R&B charted singles in 1965 and 1966 with the songs "One Step Ahead" and "Cry Like a Baby" while also reaching the Easy Listening charts with the ballads "You Made Me Love You" and "(No, No) I'm Losing You".
    More Details Hide Details By the mid-1960s, Franklin was netting $100,000 from countless performances in nightclubs and theaters. Also during that period, Franklin appeared on rock and roll shows such as Hollywood A Go-Go and Shindig! However, it was argued that Franklin's potential was neglected at the label. Columbia executive John H. Hammond later said he felt Columbia did not understand Franklin's early gospel background and failed to bring that aspect out further during her Columbia period.
  • 1964
    Age 21
    By 1964, Franklin began recording more pop music, reaching the top ten on the R&B chart with the ballad, "Runnin' Out of Fools" in early 1965.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1962
    Age 19
    In 1962, Columbia issued two more albums, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin and The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, the latter of which charted number 69 on the Billboard Pop LPs chart.
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  • 1961
    Age 18
    Franklin has married twice. She married Ted White in 1961, despite objections from her father.
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    By the end of 1961, Franklin was named as a "new-star female vocalist" in Down Beat magazine.
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    In January 1961, Columbia issued Franklin's first secular album, Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo.
    More Details Hide Details The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, "Won't Be Long", which also peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart. Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin's Columbia recordings saw her recording in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues. Before the year was out, Franklin scored her first top 40 single with her rendition of the standard, "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody", which also included the R&B hit, "Operation Heartbreak", on its b-side. "Rock-a-Bye" became her first international hit, reaching the top 40 in Australia and Canada.
  • 1960
    Age 17
    Franklin's first Columbia single, "Today I Sing the Blues", was issued in September 1960 and later reached the top ten of the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers chart.
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    Serving as her manager, C. L. agreed to the move and helped to produce a two-song demo that soon was brought to the attention of Columbia Records, who agreed to sign her in 1960.
    More Details Hide Details Franklin was signed as a "five-percent artist". During this period, Franklin would be coached by choreographer Cholly Atkins to prepare for her pop performances. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Franklin's father to have his label, RCA sign Franklin. He had also been courted by local record label owner Berry Gordy to sign Franklin and her elder sister Erma to his Tamla label. Franklin's father felt the label was not established enough yet.
  • 1956
    Age 13
    He helped his daughter get signed to her first recording deal with J.V.B. Records, where her first album, Songs of Faith, was issued in 1956.
    More Details Hide Details Two singles were released to gospel radio stations including "Never Grow Old" and "Precious Lord, Take My Hand". Franklin sometimes traveled with The Caravans and The Soul Stirrers during this time and developed a crush on Sam Cooke, who was then singing with the Soul Stirrers before his secular career. After turning 18, Franklin confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1952
    Age 9
    Contrary to popular notion, Franklin's mother did not abandon her children; not only would Franklin recall seeing her mother in Buffalo during the summer, Barbara also frequently visited her children in Detroit. Franklin's mother died on March 7, 1952, before Franklin's tenth birthday.
    More Details Hide Details Several women, including Franklin's grandmother Rachel, and Mahalia Jackson took turns helping with the children at the Franklin home. During this time, Franklin learned how to play piano by ear. Franklin's father's emotionally driven sermons resulted in him being known as the man with the "million-dollar voice" and earning thousands of dollars for sermons in various churches across the country. Franklin's celebrity led to his home being visited by various celebrities including gospel musicians Clara Ward, James Cleveland and early Caravans members Albertina Walker and Inez Andrews as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. Just after her mother's death, Franklin began singing solos at New Bethel, debuting with the hymn, "Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me". Four years later, when Franklin was 14, her father began managing her, bringing her on the road with him during his so-called "gospel caravan" tours for her to perform in various churches.
  • 1948
    Age 5
    Franklin's parents had a troubled marriage due to stories of C. L. Franklin's philandering and in 1948, they separated, with Barbara relocating back to Buffalo with her son, Vaughn, from a previous relationship.
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  • 1942
    Born
    Born on March 25, 1942.
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