Aretha Franklin Photography

Aretha Franklin

After an early career as a gospel singer, Aretha Franklin embarked on a mainstream R&B and pop career in 1960. Her earliest recordings for Columbia Records introduced her to the masses, but it wasn’t until she signed with Atlantic Records—home to “Respect” and many others—that she was crowned the undisputed “Queen of Soul.”

She maintained that status well into the next century, all while navigating through the waters of evolving musical trends. In the ’80s, she tapped into the slicker soul sounds with “Freeway of Love,” while the ’90s found her riding high on the hip-hop styled “A Rose Is Still a Rose” (penned by Lauryn Hill) and even subbing for Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammy Awards with the opera showstopper “Nessun Dorma.”

Franklin’s diverse career also included a beloved role in The Blues Brothers movie, a home in both the Rock and Roll and Gospel Music Halls of Fame, Kennedy Center Honors, plus the top slot on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time.” Her extraordinary career came to a close when, in mid 2018, Franklin passed away at her home in Detroit at age 76.

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