In memory of Aretha Franklin

3/25/1942 - 8/16/2018 Memphis, TN

"Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It's transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It's uplifting, it's encouraging, it's strengthening."

Memories and Condolences

You can keep my things. They've come to take me home.

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The Playlist

Aretha's Last Soundtrack

  • Respect Aretha Franklin

    Aretha's first Billboard No. 1 hit and arguably one of the greatest songs of all time.

  • Chain of Fools Aretha Franklin

    'Chain of Fools' was one of Franklin's most well-known songs, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard R&B Charts and awarding her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.

  • You Send Me Sam Cooke

    Aretha and Sam Cooke were good friends since childhood and her early gospel choir days...“you got caught up in whatever it was he was singing. If you came in the building and you weren’t happy when you got there, when he finished that you were happy."

  • I Never Loved a Man [The Way I Love You] Aretha Franklin

    Franklin's first big hit that started her fruitful collaboration with producer Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records! According to Franklin, “they just told me to sit on the piano and sing” — and the musical alchemy was apparent after just a few notes.

  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman Aretha Franklin

    Many believe this song best captures the effect the Queen of Soul had on audiences worldwide.

  • He Lifted Me Rev. C.L. Franklin

    Aretha's father, C.L. Franklin was one of her greatest inspirations. Her last soundtrack would not be complete without some sounds from "The Man with the Million-Dollar Voice".

  • Tracks Of My Tears Smokey Robinson

    Smokey and Aretha grew up together in Detroit and became lifelong friends. His words following her death, "This morning, my longest friend in this world went home to be with our father. I will miss her so much, but I know she’s at peace."

  • Trouble of the World Mahalia Jackson

    One of Aretha's early inspirations.

  • Out On A Hill Clara Ward

    "Aretha's own style as a child was most influenced by Clara Ward, whose dramatic performances were legendary." - Musician Guide. Clara was one of Aretha's greatest role models and Clara always believed the sky was the limit for Aretha.

  • Do Right Woman - Do Right Man Aretha Franklin

    This song’s sensitive country-gospel melody and lyrics gave way to Franklin's symbolism for gender equality and women's empowerment.

My Playlist in Spotify

Aretha Franklin 1999 Interview with NPR

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The Queen of Soul

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  • On "The Andy Williams Show" on May 4, 1969

  • Aretha with friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • President George W. Bush gave Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, recognizing her as one of “our nation’s greatest musical artists.”

  • Aretha with father, C.L. Franklin and sister Carolyn

  • Pictured with youngest son Kecalf and his daughter Victorie

  • Winning the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994

  • Showing off her acting chops in the 1980's film Blue's Brothers

  • A young Aretha

  • Performing at Madison Square Garden in 1968

  • One of her later performances, NY 2017

  • Laughing backstage with Oprah

  • At 18 years old, posing for a portrait

  • Aretha Franklin with Berry Gordy and her granddaughters at BET Honors 2015

  • Franklin's four sons

  • Dancing during a 1973 photoshoot

  • With Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Variety Special in 1975

  • On stage at the Elton John AIDS Foundation Fall Gala in NY, believed to be her last public performance

The Blues Brothers

Aretha Franklin Only Acted in One Movie her Whole Career

Aretha played the wife of lead guitarist, Matt "Guitar" Murphy.

"The Blues Brothers was something I enjoyed making tremendously," Franklin wrote in her autobiography, Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul. "It was my debut in film. The only thing I really didn’t like about it was the hours. I had to get up at seven o’clock in the morning to get ready to be on the set. But once you got there, and once you started rolling, then everything fell into place. I had a lot of fun with Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd—great guys—big sense of humor, and very, very professional and astute. So I had a good time. It makes everything so much easier when you’re having fun and you’re enjoying what you’re doing."

A Young Prodigy

Aretha Franklin Taught Herself Piano by Ear

A young Aretha did not even know how to read music when she first learned the piano. It did not take her long to understand the correct tones and pitches, and soon after she was singing solos in the gospel choir in front of the whole congregation of her father's church.

Three Inauguration Performances

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama

Aretha Franklin performed at the Inaugurations of three presidents. In 1977, she performed "God Bless America" at Jimmy Carter's night-before-the-inauguration celebration. Then in 1993, Franklin headlined a two-hour concert during Bill Clinton's inauguration. Finally, in 2009, she sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at Barack Obama's inauguration.

George Bush also honored Franklin with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005...“The Queen of Soul ... revolutionized American music,” the citation from Bush read. “She is among our Nation's greatest musical artists and has captured the hearts of millions of Americans. The United States honors Aretha Franklin for her lifetime of achievement and for helping to shape our Nation's artistic and cultural heritage.”

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In memory of Aretha Franklin