Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1987; she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fourth of five children, Franklin’s parents separated by the time she was six; four years later, her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Aretha Franklin to adult behaviours and at the age of 15, she became a mother. Her second child followed two years later.


After a brief hiatus she returned to performing, and followed heroes like Cooke and Dinah Washington into pop and blues territory. Franklin won her 18th Grammy Award in 2008, making her one of the most honoured artists in Grammy history.


In 1961, the single “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” hit No. 37 on the pop charts. Franklin had a few top 10 singles on the R&B charts, but they failed to showcase the talent evident in her gospel music. She and new husband-cum-manager Ted White decided a move was in order, and Franklin moved to Atlantic in 1967.


Franklin eventually recorded a total of 88 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries and twenty number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.


Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as INever Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted & Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s. In 1971, Franklin became the first R&B performer to headline Fillmore West, later recording the live album, Aretha Live at Fillmore West. 


Franklin’s career began experiencing issues while recording the album, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), which featured production from Quincy Jones. Despite the success of the single, “Angel”, the album bombed upon its release in 1973.


Franklin continued having R&B success with songs such as “Until You Come Back to Me” and “I’m in Love” but by 1975, her albums and songs were failing to become a success.


In 1985, inspired by her desire to have a “younger sound” in her music, her fourth Arista album, Who’s Zoomin’Who, became her first album to be certified platinum, after selling well over a million copies, thanks to the hits, “Freeway of Love”, the title track and “Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves”.


In 1987, she issued her third gospel album, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which was recorded at her late father’s New Bethel church, followed by Through the Storm in 1989.


In 2010, Franklin cancelled a number of concerts after she decided to have surgery for an undisclosed tumour.Discussing the events in 2011, she stated the surgery Franklin had would “add 15 to 20 more years” to her life. She denied that the ailment had anything to do with pancreatic cancer as it was rumoured.


On May 19, 2011 Aretha Franklin had her comeback show in the Chicago theatre. In May 2013, Franklin cancelled two performances to deal with an undisclosed medical treatment. But nevertheless, she is a legend, her songs are big hits that continue to play daily around the world.


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