Monday, March 25th: ARETHA FRANKLIN
Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) was an American singer, songwriter, civil rights activist, actress, and pianist.
One of the giants of soul music, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged.
Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records -- "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others -- earned her the title The Queen of Soul.
Franklin grew up in Detroit, where she began her career a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church where her father C. L. Franklin was minister.
At age 18, with her father’s blessing, Franklin switched from sacred to secular music, signing with Columbia Records, but achieved only moderate success. She switched to Atlantic Records in 1966 and proceeded to revolutionize soul music with some of the genre’s greatest recordings.
In the late '60s, Franklin became one of the biggest international recording stars in all of pop. Franklin was able to maintain creative momentum, in part because of her eclectic choice of material, which encompassed first-class originals and gospel, blues, pop, and rock covers. Many also saw her as a symbol of black America itself, reflecting the increased confidence and pride of African-Americans in the decade of the civil rights movement and other triumphs for the black community.
As a measure of her impact, Aretha Franklin has charted 43 Top Forty singles since 1961, recorded 38 studio albums, and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold worldwide. In 1987 Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Franklin earned a total of 18 Grammy Awards, sung at the inaugurations of two U.S. presidents (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and received the Presidential Medal of Honor.
Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer at her home in Detroit on August 16, 2018.
Her memorial service held at Detroit's Greater Grace Temple and featured testimonials from peers, civil rights leaders, and politicians, and was televised around the world.
Her classic 1972 Grammy Winning Gospel recording “Amazing Grace” has been reissued as a 2 disc collection and was recently added to the WYCE Music Library. It is the highest-selling live gospel record of all time and of her entire career selling over 2 million copies.