Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis Tennessee. She was the fourth child of five children of a Baptist preacher and gospel singer. As a young girl, Franklin toured with her father’s traveling revival show, she later was discovered and signed a contract with Columbia records. She was the first #Black female artists and first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008, she won her 18th Grammy Award, which made her one of the most honored artists in the history of the Grammys.
Franklin’s musical gifts were noted early in age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin sang in front of her father’s Detroit congregation. By the age of 14, she recorded some of her earliest tracks at the church. She became friends while touring with Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, and Sam Cooke. By the age of 15 Franklin was pregnant with her first child, a few years later she would have another child. However, Franklin did not let that stop her from living her dreams and reaching her goals.
In 1968, Franklin was asked to perform at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She paid tribute to her father’s fallen friend with a heartfelt rendition of “Precious Lord. “She also sang at the 1968 Democratic Convention.
Franklin’s success continued throughout the 70s, and as the artist took home eight consecutive Grammy awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance, it was during this time that Franklin earned the title the “Queen of Soul.” She worked tirelessly and expanded her collection to include rock and pop covers, but by 1975 her sound was fading in favor of the disco craze.
As with most musical artists there are ups and downs and Franklin went through periods in her life where the bad was outweighing the good. As her popularity faded with the younger generation, her father’s health began to decline, Franklin was also saddled with a massive bill from the IRS. However, she was able to revive her career with a cameo in the film The Blues Brothers (1980). Performing “Think” alongside comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd exposed her to a new generation of R&B lovers, and she soon signed to Arista Records. She soon parted ways with Arista, and In 1985, Franklin released another smash-hit album. The polished pop record Who’s Zoomin’ Who? featured the single “Freeway of Love,” as well as a collaboration with the popular rock band the Eurythmics. Aretha Franklin is still stronger than ever today. She was tapped to sing at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Today she is still regarded as one of the most honored artists in Grammy history, ranked among the likes of Alison Krauss, Adele and Beyoncé Knowles.