Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 25, 1942. Her first recordings were as a gospel artist at the age of 14. Here, the singer holds a copy of her album ‘Aretha Franklin – Soul ’69.’
Franklin would record for Columbia throughout the first half of the ’60s, but left for Atlantic and recorded the hit single, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” solidifying herself as the Queen of Soul.
In early 1968, Franklin won her first two Grammys for “Respect.” She went on to win eight “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” awards in a row every year until Natalie Cole put a stop to it in 1975.
By the end of the 1960s, Franklin’s position as “Soul Sister Number 1” was firmly established. Her albums, in particular 1972’s “Amazing Grace,” sold more than two million US copies — going double platinum — and becoming the best-selling gospel album of all time.
Many do not know that Franklin was also a keyboardist. In the late ’60s, Franklin became one of the biggest international recording stars in the history of pop music.
Franklin’s commercial and artistic success was unabated in the early ‘70s, during which she landed more hit records with “Spanish Harlem,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Day Dreaming.” Here, people wait on line to buy tickets to see Aretha Franklin at Apollo Theatre. We love the line" She’s Home."
Aretha Franklin has been married and divorced twice, and has given birth to four sons. Here, she is pictured with her second husband, actor Glynn Turman (“A
Different World”) and son Kelf in 1978.
Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin perform on the “We Love You Madly” Duke Ellington tribute in 1973. That same year the emotional plea “Angel,” produced in 1973 by Quincy Jones, became a hit.
After several years of failed recordings, Franklin’s career was given a much-needed boost in 1980 by a performance of the single “Think.”
In 1987 Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1993, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross stand with a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Numerous musicians and performers gathered in front of the Memorial to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
In 2008, Franklin received her 18th Grammy.
Aretha Franklin proved she still held the crown for the Queen of Soul when she was invited to sing at the 2009 presidential inauguration for Barack Obama.
Here, Franklin was inducted into the Apollo Theater’s Legends Hall of Fame. Franklin will always have the ability to draw live audiences and immense respect for the rest of her lifetime. She is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole.