Aretha Franklin, 'Queen of Soul,' dead at 76

  • Aretha Franklin, 'Queen of Soul,' dead at 76

Aretha Franklin, 'Queen of Soul,' dead at 76

The release of Lady Soul, in early 1968 - her 14th album - cemented her place in rock and pop history, with hits like Chain Of Fools and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman entering the songbook for decades and (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone showing Franklin herself could co-write big sellers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. She had battled a spate of health problems over the last few years, forcing the cancellation of multiple concerts this year. Here she is in the studio with Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox recording Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves in 1985.

In January 2009, she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the inauguration of President Barack Obama and her much-commented-on, oversized gray bow hat subsequently made its way to the Smithsonian Museum.

Franklin was also active as an actress, appearing in dozens of films and television shows, but she will likely best be remembered for her role in "The Blues Brothers", where she performed the song "Think".

The job of looking after the young Franklin fell to several women, including one who was known as the "greatest gospel singer in the world", Mahalia Jackson.

The singer's career took off when she recorded her 1967 hit "Respect", which won two Grammy Awards.

"When I heard (she lip-synced) I just really cracked up", she said. In 1956, she released her first album Songs of Faith, recorded at her father's church, New Bethel Baptist Church.

By 18, she had signed with Columbia Records and moved to NY, where her talents quickly brought her fame - and a title. Amid rumours of infidelity, her parents separated in 1948 and her mother moved to Buffalo with a son from a previous relationship.

She had not performed publicly since Elton John's annual AIDS benefit gala in November 2017. She died at 9:50 her home in Detroit.

A cover of Dionne Warwick's I Say A Little Prayer had similar success later the same year.

Thought to be in the final stages of pancreatic cancer, the Queen of Soul's friend told TMZ her weight has plummeted and that her circle has been told, "Prepare yourself, she's dying".

It was when she moved to Atlantic Records in 1966 that her career took off and she hit the number one spot with I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You). Five of her songs are in the Grammy Hall of Fame. She also had a seven-year relationship with her road manager, Ken Cunningham.

Perhaps she didn't need to be - it was all in her voice.