What is most remarkable about Franklin's rise to fame is that she, an African-American woman living in the 1960s United States, faced more than a mountain of conflict and disinterest on her rise to the top, but it barely slowed her down.
Franklin was born in Memphis, Tenn. on March 25, 1942. "I was listening to her music while I was driving in".
Franklin died Thursday at age 76 from pancreatic cancer. She sang at the inaugurations of three USA presidents. Her family made Detroit their home just a few short years later and she grew up singing in her dad's house of worship, New Bethel Baptist Church on Linwood.
Shortly after signing with the label, she had her first number one hit, "I Never Loved a Man". She sang with a mighty assurance about being shaken and shattered by love gone wrong. It went on to become a touchstone of the feminist movement as well as the civil rights movement of the late 60s.
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"Alicia Keys also honored the singer with a rendition of the same song Grande performed on "The Tonight Show", Franklin's hit "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman".
Her recording success continued across the 70s, with 1972's Young, Gifted and Black and 1976's Sparkle both achieving Gold stats. She also turned heads at the Grammys that year with an operatic performance: filling in for the ailing Luciano Pavoratti, she sang the Puccini aria "Nessun dorma".
- In 2017, she announced her retirement from touring.
Charles Smith says he's flooded with the memories every time he listens to his Aretha Franklin's music at home with his family in Renton. That same year, Detroit named a street after her.