Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an
American singer and songwriter. She began her career as a child
singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her
father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she
embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but
achieving only modest success.
After signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved
commercial acclaim and success with songs such as “Respect”, “(You
Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem” and “Think”.
By the end of the 1960s she was being called “the Queen of Soul”.
Franklin recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way
I Love You (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Young, Gifted and Black (1972)
and Amazing Grace (1972) before experiencing problems with her record
company by the mid-1970s. After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin
left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with the
albums Jump to It (1982) and Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985), and her part
in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.
Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot
100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 number-one
R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s
history. Franklin’s other well-known hits include “Rock Steady”, “Jump
to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, “Chain of Fools”,
“Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, “Something He
Can Feel”, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael),
and a remake of The Rolling Stones song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.
She won 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical
artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.
Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career including a
1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she
became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to
the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was
inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Franklin is listed
in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including
the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and the 100 Greatest Singers of