Paying R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Queen of Soul

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After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, Aretha Franklin passed away in her Detroit home on August 16 at the age of 76. Dubbed the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin left an indelible mark on the music industry. She was a woman of many talents, breaking records with her song “Respect” while also starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as Blues Brothers.
The singer was born into an already artistic and spiritual environment, living in Memphis, Tennessee where other singers before her became famous. Her father was a Baptist preacher, and her mother was a pianist and vocalist. They later relocated to Detroit, where a star would be born.
Franklin signed to Columbia Records in 1960, but it was only when she left Columbia for Atlantic Records in 1967 that her title as the “Queen of Soul” came to be. Recording hits such as “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Think,” Franklin quickly became a household name. Her single “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Loved You)” was number one on the R&B charts, and it also became her first top-ten pop single, charting at number nine. Later that year, she released an album of the same name, going gold and creating two more top-ten singles. However, her single “Respect” became her signature song. It was the anthem of an era marked by war and civil disobedience and of a people who were oppressed by society.
As a black woman living in the sixties, Franklin fought for her right to live in a society free from discrimination and oppression. She fought valiantly for the rights of women and people of color. Franklin provided organizations with donations and support to assist in combating discrimination, namely the NAACP.
In 1980, Franklin crossed over into the film industry with her role as Mrs. Murphy in the movie Blues Brothers. Starring alongside John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, James Brown, and Ray Charles, it became a cult classic, grossing over $115 million.
Aretha Franklin lived a life filled with success and prosperity, garnering 77 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the most charted female artist in history. “Rolling Stone” ranked her as the greatest singer of all time. She received 18 Grammy awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Medal of Arts. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin has sold over 75 million records to date, making her one of the best-selling music acts of all time. But, it was her humbleness and talent that earned her the respect and the title as the one and only, Queen of Soul.

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