Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Remembering Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul

The legendary and iconic "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 in her home of Detroit.  She battled with pancreatic cancer.

Aretha Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennesee and was raised in Detroit, the birthplace of Motown. Her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin was an influential preacher.

She was responsible for so many classic songs like "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," Chain of Fools," "Spanish Harlem, "Think" and of course her rendition of Otis Redding's "Respect."  Aretha turned "Respect" into an anthem for women across the globe.

Franklin received many honors including The Presidential Medal of Freedom, 18 Grammys, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award and a Grammy Living Legend award. Aretha Franklin’s powerful, distinctive gospel-honed vocal style has influenced countless singers across multi-generations, justifiably earning her number one spot on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The Greatest Singers of All Time."

In 1987, Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Franklin played a major role in shaping the civil right movement during the 60s. In an Atlanta Journal article, Jesse Jackson called her a "fighter who used her voice for social justice." She even sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr.

In the same article, writers Ernie Suggs and Shelia M. Poole called Franklin a symbol of black America, reflecting an extreme sense of confidence and pride.

D'Angelo best described Franklin's impact on the civil rights movement with this quote.

Aretha Franklin was as important to the civil-rights movement as Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. Artists can choose to take on the tremendous amount of responsibility we have, or choose to ignore it.

I was even lucky enough to see Aretha Franklin performed at the inauguration of America's first black president, Barack Obama in 2009.

Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.

There will never be anyone like her and her music will continue to influence and inspire countless people from all over the world.

Rest in power, Queen of Soul.

Take a listen to our "Remembering Aretha Franklin" Spotify playlist...

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee