Franklin, the woman Rolling Stone and countless others declared the greatest singer in the history of pop music, died Thursday at 76 at her home in Detroit.
Known for hits like "Respect, ' 'Think" and 'Chain of Fools, ' she gave her final performance November 2017 at a NY gala in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
A one-of-a-kind singer whose unmistakable voice left an indelible mark on the music industry, Franklin was reported to be "gravely ill" with cancer shortly before her passing. The 76-year-old announced plans to retire last year, saying she would perform at "some select things".
She signed with Columbia records in 1960, releasing her first album "The Great Aretha Franklin".
Franklin, who sang with matchless style on such classics as "Think, ' "I Say a Little Prayer" and her signature song, "Respect", announced her retirement from touring a year ago".
The performance would mark the beginning of a career which would go on to stretch across seven decades and see her gain both domestic and global acclaim, including becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Annie Lennox, who duetted with Franklin on The Eurythmics' 1985 hit Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves, posted a message on Instagram, wrote that she "was simply peerless". A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin got her start singing in front of her father's congregation.
They said in a statement: "For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds". She would just text me out of the blue and say I saw something you did on CNN.
Franklin was born in Memphis in 1942, though her family moved first to Buffalo, when she was 2, and then to Detroit three years later.
Beyonce and Jay Z dedicated their OTR II show in Detroit last night to Aretha Franklin.
She was married twice - her first was to former manager Ted White (1961-1969).
Aretha was known for major hits such as Respect and I Say A Little Prayer, and had more than 20 United States number ones over the course of her career.
By the looks of it, Otis Redding certainly wielded an influence over Aretha in some form as the singer had turned Redding's Think into an absolute sensation with her fine vocals. God bless her. My condolences to all her family and friends. Concerts scheduled so far in 2018, including one headlining the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, had already been canceled on doctors orders.
Franklin sang at the funeral of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, as well as at the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. I'll be pretty much satisfied, but I'm not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing.
The world she grew up in was one in which gospel singing took centre stage, and where the growing popularity of her father's driving sermons led to his mission being visited by various performers like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke.
"I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now", she said.
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