- NAME: Aretha Franklin
- OCCUPATION: Singer
- BIRTH DATE: March 25, 1942 (Age: 71)
- Did You Know?: Aretha Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
- Did You Know?: Aretha Franklin is one of the most honored artists in Grammy Award history, winning her 18th honor in 2008.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Memphis, Tennessee
- Full Name: Aretha Louise Franklin
- AKA: Aretha Franklin
- Nickname: Queen of Soul
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aries
Best Known For
Multiple Grammy winner and "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is known for such hits as "Respect," "Freeway of Love" and "I Say a Little Prayer."
Aretha Franklin's singing career was in danger of ending before it had really began in 1966 when her contract with Columbia Records wasn't renewed, until she met Atlantic Record producer Jerry Wexler.
Reverend C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin's widower father, played a crucial part in getting her involved in the music industry.
After singing soulful music, Aretha Franklin's passion was cooking authentic soul food dishes, whether at home or on the road.
Aretha Franklin had a string of hits, including her claim to fame "Respect", which became an anthem for women and humanity during the Civil Rights Movement.
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Also in 1987, the University of Detroit credited Franklin with an honorary doctorate. In 1993, she was invited to sing at the inauguration of Bill Clinton, and in 1994, she was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the next few years, the songstress was the subject of multiple documentaries and tributes.
In 1998, Franklin reprised her former role in Blues Brothers 2000, released the gold-selling "A Rose Is Still A Rose,
" and stood in for Luciano Pavarotti, who was too ill to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award. Her rendition of "Nessun Dorma" commanded stellar reviews.
In 2003, Franklin released her final studio album on Arista, So Damn Happy, and left the label to found Aretha Records. Two years later, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the second woman ever to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. In 2008, she received her 18th Grammy Award for " Never Gonna Break My Faith"—a collaboration with Mary J. Blige—and was tapped to sing at the 2009 inauguration of president Barack Obama. With 18 Grammys under her belt, Franklin is regarded as one of the most honored artists in Grammy history, ranked among the likes of Alison Krauss, Adele and Beyoncé Knowles.
In 2011, Franklin released her first album on her own label, A Woman Falling Out of Love. To support the project, she performed several concerts, including a two-night stint at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York. With fans and critics alike impressed with her performances, she successfully proved that the Queen of Soul still reigns supreme.
During this same period, however, Franklin seemed to be going through some challenging times in her personal life. She announced that she was getting married to her "forever friend" William "Willie" Wilkerson in January 2012, and that they planned to tie the knot that summer, but only a short time later, Franklin told the press that the wedding was off. "We were moving a little too fast, and there were a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly," the singer explained.
Just weeks after breaking off her engagement, Franklin suffered another great personal loss: the death of her goddaughter, Whitney Houston, on February 11, 2012. "It's so stunning and unbelievable," Franklin wrote on her Facebook page about the tragedy. "My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby."
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Many African-Americans made their name performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The roster of talented artists who made their careers after a successful amateur night at the Apollo grew so large, that the venue earned a reputation as the place to jump-start the career of an ambitious hopeful. Other performers, like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, came to the theater after experiencing big professional success, adding further credibility to the historic New York concert hall. Explore the biographies of some of the more notable African-Americans who stepped out onto the Apollo stage, making entertainment history.
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