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To The Queen Of Soul, May You Rest In Peace

R-E-S-P-E-C-T to Queen Aretha Franklin.


"A woman whose voice touched hearts and a personality too sweet to compare was taken from us too soon on August 16th, 2018. Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died today at the age of 76 years old due to pancreatic cancer and leaves a world of friends, family, and fans in mourning. With more than 20 No. 1 R&B hits, 18 Grammys to her name, and nearly 50 Top 40 hits we reflect and remember the life behind the voice of "Respect", "Chain of Fools", and "Aint no Way" of Aretha Franklin.

On March 25th, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee a prodigy destined to be a star was born. Aretha Franklin was woven into the fabric of music as her father, a minister, sang at church who was known as the "Man with a Million Dollar voice" and the first to have his sermons released on records and host his national radio show. Aretha's mother, Barbara Siggers, was also a singer but left the family when Aretha was just six years old and died fours years later; one of many heartaches in Aretha's life.

Aretha and her sister with their father Reverend C.L. FranklinWrongMog

From a young age, Aretha's father was more than an inspiration, he knew that Aretha was gifted or uniquely talented. Her father would give Aretha records of different vocalists and observe if she could emulate them on the piano and singing. In addition, Aretha traveled with her father across the country to perform at different churches, but her father was usually the headliner. Although when Aretha finally had her solo during the sermon, the church knew her voice touched many. Although Aretha matured at a very young age by having her first two children around the age of 17 years old and marrying her first husband, Ted White, in her early 20s. Yet that did not stop her seeking out new challenges as an artist; she recorded demo tapes of pop and jazz to hopefully have a record sign her. By mid-1960s, Aretha signed with Columbia Records and moved to New York City to begin her singing career.

Over the next few years recording with producer John Hammonds, Aretha Franklin became a singing sensation with the releasing of nine albums and multiple R&B hits. Yet Aretha later signed with Atlantic Records to reach her full potential and began recording with producer Jerry Wexler, who helped her release her gospel album "Amazing Grace" in 1972 and smash hit "I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You)." By late 1960s, Aretha's albums "Aretha Arrives", "Lady Soul", and "Aretha Now" became a hit with her legendary voice seeping into people's hearts. In 1967, Aretha won her first two Grammy awards with the hit song "Respect" from her album "I Never Loved a Man (The Way That I Love You)" and several later which increased her popularity and became a symbol of feminine strength.

Jerry Wexler and Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin and Jerry WexlerPinterest

Aretha Franklin holding her first Grammy ThoughtCo

During this time, Franklin's life was in such disarray. Her marriage with her first husband, Ted White, had come to an end due to abuse and later developed an alcohol problem. Franklin was also arrested twice for disorderly conduct and reckless driving. To the outside world, Franklin was seen as an icon who spread positivity and motivation, but on the inside she was just like the rest of the world, struggling to make it through. Franklin remarried to actor Glynn Turman and had her fourth son, Kecalf in 1970.

Aretha continued to preserve her success by releasing her single with Simon & Garfunkel "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and began working with all-star producers Quincy Jones and Curtis Mayfield. She continued to win awards for her success with her eighth consecutive Grammy award and became the first woman of the Rock & Roll Fame in 1987. Because of her honor, she released a No.1 hit with George Michael "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me".

Aretha Franklin was not only a music sensation, but she impacted so many people and determined to be a symbol of feminism. She demonstrated that women should be treated with respect and consider them as strong, beautiful, and independent. Her music narrated the lives of so many and that unique but beautiful voice created a connection worldwide. Nonetheless, Aretha always found a way to make life-changing boundaries in music with collaborations, awards such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, and performances such as the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama singing "America" and later in 2015 for the Pope Francis in Philadelphia.

Aretha 2005Aretha Franklin receiving the Presidential Medal of FreedomThoughtCo

Many began to notice the multiple cancellations of events due to health issues but never disclaimed what they were. Unfortunately, hiding her illness did not last forever as she announced her retirement in the music industry in 2017.

On the morning of August 16th, 2018 Aretha Louise Franklin passed away in hospice care due to advanced pancreatic cancer. The woman who spoke to my soul as a child and kept her music alive all these years was taken from us too soon. Her strength, love, care, and personality will never be forgotten. As we mourn for her death, reflect the beautiful life she led and the lives she impacted. Her legacy will not cease to exist as many artists today will take upon her as an inspiration. Though it will never feel real her passing or ever say goodbye, she will always live within us.

Goodbye Aretha Franklin. We love you.

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