Carolyn Franklin

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Carolyn Franklin
Birth name Carolyn Ann Franklin
Born (1944-05-13)May 13, 1944
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Origin Detroit, Michigan, USA
Died April 25, 1988(1988-04-25) (aged 43)
Bloomfield, Michigan, USA
Genres Gospel, R&B, Pop, Jazz
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Piano, Vocal
Years active 1963–1976, 1980–1988
Labels Double L (1963–1964)
RCA Victor (1969–1976)
Atlantic (1967–1970s - Background vocals)
Associated acts Aretha Franklin, Erma Franklin, C.L. Franklin, Paul King, Jimmy Radcliffe

Carolyn Ann Franklin (May 13, 1944 – April 25, 1988) was an American singer and songwriter, daughter of prominent preacher C. L. Franklin and younger sister of musician Aretha Franklin.


Franklin was born in Memphis to Barbara (née Siggers) and Reverend C. L. Franklin. The youngest of the minister's six children, she moved to Buffalo, New York, shortly after her birth.

Around 1946, the Franklin family settled in Detroit, Michigan, where Carolyn would begin singing at her father's New Bethel Baptist Church. Inspired by her sisters' successes in the secular music field in the early 1960s, Carolyn followed Erma and Aretha into a secular recording career, first recording in 1963.

Like Erma, Carolyn's modest success in the industry wasn't matched by Aretha's blockbuster breakthrough in the late 1960s. While struggling to release a hit, she began to work behind the scenes as a songwriter, mainly for sister Aretha's work. Aretha and Carolyn's bond led to several collaborations between the two and Carolyn came up with several compositions that became classic hits including "Ain't No Way", recorded in 1968.

The ballad single was the b-side to Aretha's top ten triumph, "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone". The song was strong enough to have its own airplay and eventually hit the R&B Top 10 and also went Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Carolyn's next hit for her sister was the 1973 ballad "Angel", which also featured Carolyn, and eldest sister Erma Franklin, in background voices advising Aretha. Aretha mentioned her sister's name in the beginning of the song in a monologue describing how Carolyn came up with the song. Another song Carolyn contributed was "Pullin'" with Jimmy Radcliffe. Carolyn also wrote songs for Franklin's 1970 album Spirit in the Dark and her failed 1975 album, You.

In 1976, Carolyn retired from the music industry and occasionally continued to sing with Aretha.

She appeared as one of Aretha's background singers in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers and was a backing vocalist on Paul King's 1987 album Joy.[1]

Carolyn died of breast cancer at Aretha's Scenic Court home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on April 25, 1988,[2] and - like other deceased family members - is interred at Detroit's historic Woodlawn Cemetery on North Woodward Avenue.



  1. ^ Talevski, Nick (April 7, 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 183. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Carolyn Franklin", Find A Grave.

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