Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

Tributes are paid across the world to the ‘Queen of Soul’

One of the most successful singers of all time, the ‘Queen Of Soul’, Aretha Franklin has passed away in Detroit aged 76. The news follows days of speculation of after reports of a ‘grave illness’ and her close friends and family joining her to ‘say goodbye’. 

She leaves behind a vast legacy of music which started in the 1950’s as her father, the Reverend Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, asked his daughter to sing before church services. He became her manager as she signed her first record deal with Columbia Records in 1960. It was Aretha’s 1967 signing to Atlantic Records that truly made her a household name: recording the songs “I Never Loved a Man” and “RESPECT” that same year. In 1968 she released “Chain of Fools”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer”, became the first person to win “Best Female R&B performance” at the GRAMMY’s and was featured on the cover of TIME magazine.

In the decades since, Aretha has performed for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Albert Hall and for Presidents Clinton and Obama at the White House, including at International Jazz Day in 2016. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979 and became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She was awarded the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, received the National Medal of Arts in 1999 and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. A movie telling the story of her extraordinary life and career is set for release next year with Jennifer Hudson confirmed to play the title role.

Franklin was diagnosed with cancer 8 years ago and hasn’t performed live in the last 9 months, cancelling a number of high profile performances on doctors’ orders. She had spoken about retirement and hinted at a final album with Quincy Jones.

Speaking to Jazz FM recently, George Benson told us: “I never imagined in my wildest dreams that we would do a duet together. When she started singing, I couldn’t think what to say because I had never heard someone with that kind of power and genuine mastery over their voice” while Brenda Russell said: “The way she opened up and let people into her soul was just remarkable; when I first discovered her, it was an eye-opening, ear-opening and soul-opening experience”.

Listen to Jamie Crick's Special Broadcast as the news broke HERE





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