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Obituaries

Music Legend Aretha Franklin Passes Away at 76

Music Legend Aretha Franklin Passes Away at 76

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away today, August 16, in her Detroit home after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, according to the Associated Press. She was 76 years old.

Her family told AP in a statement: "In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family."

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Spanish Harlem" and "Think". By the end of the 1960s she had gained the title "The Queen of Soul".

Franklin eventually recorded a total of 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 number-one R&B singles, becoming the most charted female artist in the chart's history.

Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted and Blackand Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s. After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with her part in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and with the albums Jump to It (1982) and Who's Zoomin' Who? (1985).

In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria "Nessun dorma", at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti. Later that same year, she scored her final Top 40 recording with "A Rose Is Still a Rose".

Franklin's other popular and well known hits include "Rock Steady", "Jump to It", "Freeway of Love", "Who's Zoomin' Who", "Chain Of Fools", "Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)", "Something He Can Feel", "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (with George Michael), and a remake of The Rolling Stones song "Jumpin' Jack Flash".

Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.

Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Franklin is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos


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