Portal:Aretha Franklin

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Introduction

Franklin in 1968

Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, civil rights activist, actress, and pianist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. At age 18, she embarked on a secular career recording for Columbia Records. However, she achieved only modest success. Franklin found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as "Respect", "Chain of Fools", "Think", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", and "I Say a Little Prayer", propelled Franklin past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as "The Queen of Soul".

She continued to record acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Spirit in the Dark (1970), Young, Gifted and Black (1972), Amazing Grace (1972), and Sparkle (1976) before experiencing problems with her record company. Franklin left Atlantic in 1979 and signed with Arista Records. She appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers before releasing the successful albums Jump to It (1982), Who's Zoomin' Who? (1985), and Aretha (1986) on the Arista label. In 1998, Franklin returned to the top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced song "A Rose Is Still a Rose", later issuing the album of the same name, which went gold. That same year, Franklin earned international acclaim for her performance of "Nessun dorma" at the Grammy Awards, filling in at the last minute for Luciano Pavarotti, who had cancelled after the show had already begun. In 2015, she paid tribute to singer/songwriter and honoree Carole King by singing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" at the Kennedy Center Honors.

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