Aretha Franklin: A life in pictures

Lula Sharp
August 16, 2018

Franklin died at her home surrounded by family and friends, the source said.

Reports recently emerged the Queen of Soul was "gravely ill" in Detroit, nine months after her last public performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in NY. She had battled a spate of health problems over the last few years, forcing the cancellation of multiple concerts this year.

Aretha found modest success during her time with Columbia, achieving her first top 40 single with Rock-a-Bye Your baby with a Dixie Melody, which garnered her some global fame.

She also performed at the inaugurations of three presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Her publicist confirmed the news to Associated Press.

There, Aretha Franklin began singing solos at age 10, soon after her mother, an accomplished piano player and vocalist, died. In 1967 she signed with Atlantic Records - and the rest would become music history.

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"Among her countless hits were the soul classics, "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Chain of Fools", "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", and "Think".

"I love marriage-love the institution", she told Wendy Williamsin a 2011 interview, confirming that she still spoke to Turman. Her many accolades included 18 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe win and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the first female performer to receive such an honor). Her early music blended gospel and jazz.

Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis to Rev. Clarence La Vaughn and Barbara Franklin, both of whom were also gospel singers. Her father was a popular preacher and she grew up with gospel greats like Albertina Walker and Mahalia Jackson visiting her home. "She does not seem to be performing so much as bearing witness to a reality so simple and compelling that she could not possibly fake it". Franklin died in Detroit, which is where she spent most of her childhood and adult life.

By 1968 she was renowned throughout America and Europe as "Lady Soul" - a symbol of black pride who appeared on the cover of Time and was given an award by Martin Luther King. I will be recording, but this will be my a year ago in concert.

Personally, the star struggled with her weight throughout most of her life and had been a longtime smoker. In 1965, during a show, the M.C. gave her a crown and declared her the "Queen of Soul". She also scored an global number-one hit with "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", her duet with George Michael.

- Her voice is unparalleled.

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