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Who is Aretha Franklin?
Aretha Louise Franklin (/əriːθə/; March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul“, she has twice been placed 9th in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. 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.
At the age of 18, she embarked on a music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While her career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success once she signed with Atlantic Records in 1966. Her commercial hits such as “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer” propelled her past her musical peers.
Franklin continued to record acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Spirit in the Dark (1970), Young, Gifted and Black (1972), Amazing Grace (1972), and Sparkle (1976), before experiencing problems with her record company. She left Atlantic in 1979 and signed with Arista Records.
who is Aretha Franklin?
She appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers before releasing the successful albums Jump to It (1982), Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985), and Aretha (1986) on the Arista label. In 1998, Franklin returned to the Top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced song “A Rose Is Still a Rose”; later, she released an album of the same name, which was certified gold.
Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 73 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles. Besides the foregoing, Franklin’s well-known hits also include “Ain’t No Way”, “Call Me”, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”, “Spanish Harlem”, “Rock Steady”, “Day Dreaming”, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, “Something He Can Feel”, “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (a duet with George Michael).
She won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (1968–1975) and a Grammy Awards Living Legend honor and Lifetime Achievement Award. Franklin is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
How old was Aretha Franklin?
She was born March 25, 1942, making her 76 years old. She was born in Memphis but grew up in Detroit.
Who are her parents?
Aretha Louise Franklin was the daughter of Rev. C. L. (Clarence La Vaughn), a minister and gospel singer, and gospel singer Barbara (Siggers) Franklin.
Her parents separated, and Aretha lived with her dad during the school year and her mom during the summers. The family has disputed rumors that Barbara abandoned them. Barbara died when Aretha was still very young in 1952.
Franklin does not often speak publicly about her father’s tragic death. He died in 1984 after a five-year coma that began when he was shot by burglars.
Franklin’s mother, Barbara, was a gospel singer and pianist. Her father, C.L. Franklin, presided over the New Bethel Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, and was a minister of national influence. A singer himself, he was noted for his brilliant sermons, many of which were recorded by Chess Records. Her parents separated when she was six, and Franklin remained with her father in Detroit. Her mother died when Aretha was 10. As a young teen, Franklin performed with her father on his gospel programs in major cities throughout the country and was recognized as a vocal prodigy. Her central influence, Clara Ward of the renowned Ward Singers, was a family friend.
Other gospel greats of the day—Albertina Walker and Jackie Verdell—helped shape young Franklin’s style. Her album The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin (1956) captures the electricity of her performances as a 14-year-old.
Family & Personal Life
Aretha Franklin became a mother quite early in life. She gave birth to her first son when she was not even 13. She named him Clarence after her father. Though she never revealed the identity of his father, according to news site Inquisitr, “The father of the child was Donald Burk, a boy she knew from school”. However, in one of her handwritten wills, Franklin had revealed that the father of her first child was Edward Jordan.
Her second son, Edward, was born two years later in 1957 and she named him after his father Edward Jordan. Clarence and Edward were raised by her grandmother and sister, while she pursued her music career.
In 1961, she married Ted White despite objections from her father. Ted was much older to her and the marriage did not work out. Franklin was subjected to domestic violence throughout their marriage and they divorced in 1969.
In 1964, Franklin gave birth to her third son, Ted White, Jr., who is now famously known as Teddy Richards and is a famous musician.
In 1968, her fourth son, Kecalf, was born. His father is Ken Cunningham, Aretha Franklin’s former manager.
In 1978, she married actor Glynn Turman and took care of his three children from his former marriage. The couple divorced in 1984. Franklin later announced her plans to marry Willie Wilkerson, but called it off immediately.
In 1956, her first album, Songs of Faith, came out under J. V. B. Records label.
Her popular single ‘Today I Sung the Blues’ was released in the same year – it reached the Hot Rhythm & Blue Sellers Chart.
Franklin had weight issues for many years. In 1974, she lost 40 pounds (18 kg) on a crash diet and maintained her new weight until the end of the decade. She again lost weight in the early 1990s, before gaining some back. A former chain smoker who struggled with alcoholism, she quit smoking in 1992. She admitted in 1994 that her smoking was “messing with my voice”, but after quitting smoking she said later, in 2003, that her weight “ballooned”.
In 2010, Franklin canceled a number of concerts to have surgery for an undisclosed tumor. Discussing the surgery in 2011, she quoted her doctor as saying that it would “add 15 to 20 years” to her life. She denied that the ailment had anything to do with pancreatic cancer, as had been reported. Franklin added, “‘I don’t have to talk about my health with anybody other than my doctors… . Following the surgery, Franklin lost 85 lbs.; however, she denied that she had undergone weight-loss surgery. On May 19, 2011, Franklin had her comeback show at the Chicago Theatre.
In May 2013, Franklin canceled two performances because of an undisclosed medical treatment. Further concert cancellations in the summer and fall followed.
During a phone interview with the Associated Press in late August 2013, Franklin stated that she had had a “miraculous” recovery from her undisclosed illness but had to cancel shows and appearances until her health was at 100%, estimating she was about “85% healed”. Franklin later returned to live performing, including a 2013 Christmas concert at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino Hotel.
She launched a multi-city tour in mid-2014, starting with a performance on June 14 in New York at Radio City Music Hall.
In February 2017, Franklin announced in an interview with local Detroit television anchor Evrod Cassimy, that 2017 would be her final year touring. However, she scheduled some 2018 concert dates before canceling them based on her physician’s advice.
Death and funeral
On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit. She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and former husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will. The cause of death was a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET),which is distinct from the most common form of pancreatic cancer. Numerous celebrities in the entertainment industry and politicians paid tribute to Franklin, including former U.S.
President Barack Obama who said she “helped define the American experience”. Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton called her a “civil rights and humanitarian icon”.
Thousands then paid their respects during the public lying-in-repose at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The August 31 Homegoing Service held at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, included multiple tributes by celebrities, politicians, friends and family members and was streamed by some news agencies such as Fox News, CNN, The Word Network, BET and MSNBC. Among those who paid tribute to Aretha at the service were Ariana Grande, Bill Clinton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Faith Hill, Fantasia, The Clark Sisters, Ronald Isley, Angie Stone, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Holliday, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Shirley Caesar, Stevie Wonder, Eric Holder, Gladys Knight, Cedric the Entertainer, Tyler Perry, Smokey Robinson, Yolanda Adams, and Rev. Dr.
How did Aretha Franklin die?
In 2010, the singer cancelled concerts after she decided to have surgery for an undisclosed tumour. She denied reports that it was for pancreatic cancer.
In August 2018 following reports that she was ill, famous fans, including Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott rallied around the star posting their thoughts and prayers on Twitter.
On August 14 2018, CNN reported that the star was in hospice care and Associated Press said that she had been visited by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
On August 16 2018, the Memphis-born singer passed away in Detroit on Thursday surrounded by her loved ones with the cause confirmed as advanced pancreatic cancer.
On August 28 2018, the singer was laid to rest in a glittering coffin and in high heels after her loyal fans had a chance to pay their final respects to the true Queen of Soul.
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