Aretha Franklin was one of the greatest music influencers ever. She came from a background of Baptist parents with a musical touch. Her mother was a singer and pianist and her father was a minister. It would come to no surprise that their daughter would hold a musical gift of her own.
At age 18, she decided to move to New York City and arranged a recording contract with Columbia Records. The classical 1960s “Today I Sing the Blues” was recorded in the first sessions, which is a nice, slow rhythm song about being heartbroken and left alone.
However, she was without a particular target audience in her early days and most of her songs would span to adults and teens with ballads and rhythmical blues. Critics noticed her talent and in 1966, Franklin moved to Atlantic Records. There Franklin went back to blues, which got momentous results. While the civil rights movement was going on, Franklin gave her support through music. In 1967, she did a cover of 1964 Otis Redding’s “Respect.” People can still relate to this song today between racial, sexual tension and flat out being a decent human being. The crowned “Queen of Soul,” also known as “Lady Soul,” did not back down with the music she wrote.
Despite 1970s disco stealing the limelight in the music industry, Aretha Franklin rose back up to popularity with the help of Luther Vandross, who helped her with new 1980s hits like “Jump to It” and “Freeway of Love.”
In 1987, Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, she released the album “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”
Aretha Franklin was adored by all people, even those that served in office. In 1993, Franklin was invited to sing for Bill Clinton’s inauguration and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Kennedy Center Honors. In 2005, Franklin was presented with the highest civilian award – the Presidential Award of Freedom. She also performed “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” for former President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008. Franklin even shared an interaction with President Trump before he himself took office in 1997 with the grand opening of Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City.
Aretha Franklin was an iconic, truly once-in-a-lifetime artist and changed the world of music with her songs. Unfortunately, at the age of 76, on Aug. 16, she succumbed to an advanced form of pancreatic cancer. However, she left her mark on the world and lives through all she has touched with her music.