Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul

by Erika Cox
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Aretha Franklin is the undeniable Queen of Soul. She remains one of the most prominent and important figures in rock and roll music.

Her music career has span almost 40 years. Although she is known for her soul/R&B music, she has contributed and sang gospel, jazz, rock, blues, pop, and even opera music.

She is often noted as one of the best singers in the music industry. Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis.

Her family eventually moved to Detroit when Aretha was a young girl. Along with her two sisters, Aretha sang at her father's church.

Her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a very prominent person and popular preacher with one of the largest churches in Detroit. Franklin recorded for the first time with Columbia Records at the age of 14. Her gospel background helped give her the emotional edge she displays when singing.

Aretha eventually signed with Atlantic Records in 1967 where her career took off. Along with producers, Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin, and Aretha's singing, some of the most popular and influential music of the 1960's was created.

She also recorded top producer, Burt Bacarah's song "Say a little prayer", which hit number four in 1968.

By the late 1960's, Aretha had been dubbed the "Queen of Soul." She released a string of Top Ten hits, not only from her own music but with versions of other groups' songs as well. From 1968 to 1975, she won eight awards in the category of the "Best Female Performance" of the Grammy Awards.

After leaving Atlantic Records in the mid-70's, Aretha's popularity slowed down a little bit between the late 1970's to the early 1980's but she came back with a hit called "Freeway of Love" in the mid-80's.

Many of Aretha's songs were abut women seeking independence, including "Respect", which became a signature song for women seeking independence, respect, and freedom everywhere. Other songs dealt with the various issues women go through in relationships.

Aretha became the voice for many women all across the country and the world. Her intense, stirring vocals and prolific lyrics touched the hearts of many.

Her performances were and are electric and soul stirring. She has sung at a number of special events, including Martin Luther King's funeral, her father's funeral, who died from a gunshot sustained during a robbery.

She also sang at Jimmy Carter's Presidential inauguration ceremony and recently sang at the Superbowl. She has worked with numerous notable singers including Otis Redding, Billy Preston, Curtis Mayfield, Luther Vandross, Aaron Neville, Quincy Jones, and Chaka Khan to name a few.

Unlike many artists who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Aretha actually had a number one song the same year she was inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame in 1987.

She was also the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Aretha has influenced countless singers, specifically female singers, and women all over the world.

Many singers have recorded versions of her songs and have tried to copy her singing style. She has continued to receive numerous awards and recognition for her superb musical talent and impressive career.

Despite her personal problems, Aretha has proven to be as strong as her music. She is known as the "Diva" of music representing a strong, independent, and successful woman in an industry comprised of mostly males.

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