Remembering The Life of the 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin did not receive her title as the 'Queen of Soul' for no reason. Her chillingly beautiful music has the ability to speak directly to your heart in ways no other can replicate. Her moving performances paired with her four-octave vocal range makes Franklin a true wonder. As a little girl, she sang Gospel music and her soulful voice led her to stardom. At 76 years old, she passed away at her home surrounded by family and friends at her home in Detroit. She had reportedly been suffering from Pancreatic Cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her family released this statement: 

‘In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. ‘We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’

Check out some facts to know about the life of Aretha Franklin below.

How Did Aretha Franklin Come into Music?

 Aretha grew up in her father church, New Bethel Baptist Church, where she would frequently take the stage and perform. The young star taught herself to play the piano by mere practice alone. She later went on the study piano at Julliard School of Music in 1998. 

Who was Aretha Franklin Married to?

From 1961 to 1969, Aretha was married to Ted White at the age of 19, despite her father's rejections. The pair divorced after 8 years following disputes if domestic violence. From 1978 to 1984, the artist was married to Glynn Turman. The two married in Franklin's father's church where she became step-mother to her new husbands three children. Turman and Franklin separated in 1982 and eventually divorced in 1984 when Franklin moved back to Michigan from Califonia. 

What is Aretha's Age?

Aretha is 76 years old. She was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis Tennesee, but raised in Detroit. 

How Many Children Does Aretha Have?

Aretha has four children, all sons. Their names are Kecalf, Theodore, Edward, and Clarence. Her first child. Clarence was born after Aretha became pregnant at the age of 12. He was named after Aretha's father. Two years later, at the age of 14, Aretha gave birth to Edward, named after his father. Her third child, Teddy, was born in 1964 and is a professional guitarist who has provided backing for his mother's band. Kecalf is Franklins youngest son, who was born in 1970. 

What Songs are Aretha Known for? 

Aretha is known for covers of other musicians as well as her own hits. 


"I Say a Little Prayer"


"(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman"

"Chain of Fools"

What are Some of Her Best Live Performances?

Many of her notable performances include, but are not limited to: 

1968 -- "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" -- funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1977 -- "God Bless America" -- inauguration gala of President Jimmy Carter

1993 -- "I Dreamed a Dream" -- inauguration ball of President Bill Clinton

1998 -- "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammy Awards, stepping in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti, completely unrehearsed, 

2006 -- "Star-Spangled Banner" --Super Bowl

2009 -- "My Country 'Tis of Thee" -- President Barack Obama's inauguration.

What is Aretha's Latest Album to be Released?

Aretha's latest album to be released would be Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. The RCA album debuted on October 21, 2014, featuring a cover of "Rolling in the Deep." That same month, she became the first woman to have 100 songs on Billboards Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart after the success of Adele's "Roling in the Deep." 

Does Aretha Still Perform?

The artist announced that she would retire from her music career at the conclusion of 2017 following a list of canceled shows due to health concerns. However, she did state that she would still perform at "some select things," according to AP. Her most recent performance was in New York City on November 7th, 2017 during Elton John's 25th anniversary gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. 

What Special Achievements does Aretha Have?

NAACP Vanguard Award

18 Grammy Awards

Presidential Medal of Freedom (Given to her by President George W. Bush)

National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts

Hollywood Walk of Fame Star received in 1979

First woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Second woman inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame 

What Honorary Degrees Does Franklin Have? 

2014 - Harvard University 

2012 - Princeton University 

2010 - Yale University 

2009 - Brown University 

2006 - Berklee College of Music 

1995 - New England Conservatory of Music

1987 - University of Michigan 

1990- Wayne State University (Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters) 

1975 - Bethune-Cookman College (Doctor of Law) 

ABC7 contributed to this article 

Photo: Getty Images



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