RIP Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

by Christopher Smith

It’s sad to report that Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul music has died following a short illness. She was 76.

Her body of work speaks for itself and will remain unchallenged and unsurpassed for all time. Spanning six decades, her career was just as relevant in the 1960’s with songs like “Respect” and “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” as it was in the 80’s with her collaborations with Annie Lennox and George Michael and in the 90’s with club/dance anthems like “A Deeper Love” and “Willing To Forgive”.

She first charted in 1960 with the song “Today I Sing The Blues”. Her success was largely confined to the US and and Canada for the first five years of her career and it wouldn’t be until 1967 when global success came with “Respect”, “Natural Woman”, “I Say A Little Prayer”, “Think”, and “The House The Jack Built”. The 70’s brought yet more classic songs including “Spanish Harlem”, “Son Of A Preacher Man”, “Day Dreaming”, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”.

Whilst many artists of her generation had begun to fade away, Aretha maintained her momentum into the 1980’s with more hit records including “Freeway Of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” as well as the collaborations with Annie, George, “It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be” (with Whitney Houston) and “Love All the Hurt Away” (with George Benson).

Her honours and accolades are many and numerous. She won a staggering 18 Grammy Awards out of 32 nominations from her first in 1968 to her most recent and last in 2008. 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. In 1994 she received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy’s and was given the highest US honour in 2005, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, recognising her outstanding contribution to American music.

For your life and your work, we all say a little prayer for you. RIP.

Aretha Louise Franklin born 25th March 1942, died 16th August 2018

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