The world lost one of its most iconic voices today as Aretha Franklin, music's Queen of Soul, has passed away from pancreatic cancer at age 76.
Aretha Franklin’s career is a testament to her immense talent and her brave voice, which challenged racism and sexism with songs like "Respect" and "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman." She has won 18 Grammys, she was the first woman admitted to the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame, and she had more than two dozen top 40 hits during the peak of her career between 1967 and 1975. She was considered the definitive female soul singer of the 60s and one of the most influential and important voices in Pop history.
Born in 1942 in Memphis and raised in Detroit, her father was a prominent minister and nationally known gospel singer. She toured with her family and met many of the voices that would later define soul music. Signed originally to Columbia records, she moved to Atlantic in 1965 where she’s began singing the songs that defined her as soul and R&B singer. Her music became the voice of defiance for an entire generation of civil rights activists and she sang at Martin Luther King Junior‘s funeral.
Though health problems prevented her from continuing to tour, she was still a major voice in American music. Her final public performance was last November when she sang at an Elton John AIDS foundation gala New York.
Aretha Franklin was powerful talent and she will be missed greatly. Please enjoy one of her great performances below.