Aretha Franklin is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known the world over simply by her first name: Aretha. The reigning and undisputed “Queen of Soul” (1942-2018) is a true legend in the music world.
At Atlantic Records, Aretha returned to her gospel-blues roots, and the results were sensational. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) (1967), recorded at Fame Studios in Florence, Alabama, was her first million-seller.
During the years, Franklin refined a style associated with Ray Charles, a rousing mixture of gospel, rhythm and blues, and raised it to new heights. Respect, her 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s spirited composition, became an anthem operating on personal, sexual and racial levels. Think (1968), which Franklin wrote herself, also had more than one meaning. For the next half-dozen years, she became a hit maker of unprecedented proportions; she was “Lady Soul.”
She is an eighteen (and counting) GRAMMY Award winner, the most recent of which was for Best Gospel Performance for Never Gonna Break My Faith with Mary J. Blige in 2008. Her voice has influenced countless singers across multi-generations.
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