Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, Dies at 76

Aretha Franklin

The legendary singer from Detroit earned 20 Grammys on the strength of such hits as the anthem “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think” and “Spanish Harlem.”

The Queen of Soul is gone.

Aretha Franklin, the sensational songbird whose voice was sweeter than honey to millions, making her an inspirational American icon and one of the most admired vocalists of all time, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit after battling advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist confirmed to the Associated Press. She was 76.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised in the Motor City, Franklin was firmly rooted in gospel but also excelled in the worlds of jazz, R&B and pop. She collected 20 Grammys — including a lifetime achievement award — covering a span of four decades; was the first woman enshrined into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987); and, befitting a queen, was named No. 1 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

She sold more than 75 million records worldwide, according to one estimate, and had 10 Top Ten hits in a roughly 18-month stretch beginning in early 1967. A tireless road warrior, Franklin also sold millions of concert tickets, almost always arriving to shows in her custom bus (she had a fear of flying).

Franklin’s signature song, the 1967 smash “Respect” for her first album for Atlantic Records, became a battle cry for the feminist and civil rights movements. Recorded two years earlier by Otis Redding from a man’s point of view, her righteous reworking pushed “Groovin’ ” by The Young Rascals from the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.



  1. R.I.P.

    What can one say, she has been a Giant and a Legend of Entertainment for Generations and will be for Generations to come.


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