Aretha Franklin

ArethaFranklin.jpgThe undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Louise Franklin, was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. Daughter of the Reverend C.L. Franklin, Aretha spent years singing in the church choir alongside her sisters Erma and Carolyn. Aretha was heavily inspired by artists such as Billie Holiday and Sam Cooke . Franklin ran into a major roadblock when she became an unwed mother at the tender age of 15, and by the time she was 17 she was the mother of two boys. However, Aretha did not let her early motherhood hold her back. Motivated by her love of music and Christ, she rose to stardom after legendary talent scout John Hammond discovered her and signed her to Columbia records in the early 1960s.

Franklin got years of experience at Columbia Records but, caught between Gospel and Rock and Roll, could not find her place in music.Aretha's_Best.jpg Aretha had a few hits during her run at Columbia such as Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody, but her natural enthusiasm for R&B and Soul was stifled by Columbia's pushing her to be a pop star.

Most of Aretha's most popular music was made during her time at Atlantic Records beginning in 1966. Her raw talent was released and she was on fire with hits like "Chain of Fools" and "Since You've Been Gone". Aretha won a Grammy every year from 1969 to 1975. Especially empowering was her hit "Respect", which-in a time of emerging feminism, sexual liberation and black activism- was quite a rallying cry for social progress. "Respect" won Aretha two Grammy Awards and even won her an honorary award from Martin Luther King Jr.

Aretha.jpgOn the foreront, Aretha's life seemed perfect but trouble brewed in her personal life. In 1969, Aretha's rocky marriage to Ted White ended and she was rumored to have been drinking heavily. After her performance at President Jimmy Carter's inauguration, her success began to plummet. Aretha left Atlantic Records in 1980 for Arista Records, and that same year her father died after being robbed and shot. Despite the tragedy and turmoil in her personal life, Franklin rose to the top again. Her first album with Arista, entitled "Aretha" fared even better than her albums with Atlantic Records. As if that wasn't enough evidence of her resilience, in 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, while also winning multiple Grammy Awards.

Today, Aretha Franklin is viewed as a strong woman who revolutionized music with her remarkable voice. She is a source of inspiration for people who feel as though the obstacles in life are too large to overcome. Franklin proves that you don't have to be perfect to leave behind a legacy of outstanding success and achievement. She did just that through the ,m​usic that touched many hearts and moved even more feet. Having been the face of R&B and Soul for years despite her rollercoaster of a personal life, she is truly the Queen of Soul.
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Resources
"Aretha Franklin Biography". 28 Feb 2010. < http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Aretha-Franklin-Biography/5F5E8E9F3C35356548256C46002AA9DE>

"Aretha Franklin" .28 Feb 2010. <http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/aretha-franklin>

"Aretha Franklin" .28 Feb 2010. <http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Aretha%20Franklin.html>

http://www.emusic.com/artist/Aretha-Franklin-MP3-Download/10556643.html