The Queen of Soul succumb to pancreatic cancer at age 76 surrounded by family and friends. Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister. Aretha was discovered by legendary A&R man John Hammond. Franklin signed a 7 year deal at Columbia, with modest success. She left Columbia and signed to Atlantic, where Franklin had her first hit “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” selling 1 million copies, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, and “Think.” Franklin’s remake of Otis Redding respect reached number one on both the R&B and pop charts. “Respect” became her signature song and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist anthem. Franklin is the first woman inducted into the Rock n roll Hall of Fame. Franklin was nominated 44 times, won 18 Grammys and sold 75 million records.
Aretha Franklin was laid to rest August the 31st at Greater Grace church in Detroit Michigan. More than 40 artists performed at a concert in her honor, including Gladys Knight, the Four Tops, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Raheem DeVaughn, Johnny Gill and Angie Stone, accompanied by the Ralphe Armstrong Band and Kern Brantley Band. Mrs. Franklin home going was also stream live for the world. Mrs. Franklin was so much more that a singer, this queen was a pioneer for civil rights, a trendsetter for women issues and a true people person.