The Queen of Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Jasmine Basila

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August 16, 2018 marks the day the renowned Aretha Franklin passed due to pancreatic cancer. Known best for her music, Franklin touched many hearts with her beautiful vocals, and in turn, many more mourn her passing. It is only right we honor her memory, as she shall be in millions of hearts for years to come.

Born on March 25th, 1942, Franklin’s affinity for song began as a child as she sang in the New Bethel Baptist Church, a church her father C.L. Franklin was minister for, in Detroit. Due to her roots in the church, she relied on faith for many things later on in life. Along with this, her mother, Barbara Franklin, was also a musician– Although, Barbara died when her daughter was only ten.

Aretha’s career in music began as early as twelve, as she traveled with her father around the country, performing gospel while he preached. Her flexible style and heartful voice made her popular even then. Famous 50’s jazz artist Dinah Washington herself mentioned that “Aretha was the next one [on the path of fame].”

By 1960, at eighteen she signed on with Columbia Records, in which her hits “Won’t Be Long,” “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” and “Operation Heartbreak” were created, along with much more. Around this time she also earned the moniker “The Queen Of Soul.”

Six years following Columbia Records, Franklin joined Atlantic Records. There she released “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” Accompanying these was one of her most popular songs– her cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect,” which made her an icon for feminism. During her time with Atlantic, she also had a destructive marriage with her manager Ted White, which only lasted seven years.

For a time in the 80’s, she banded with Clive Davis’ Arista Records. She launched her song “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?,” most notably.

Throughout, a multitude of The Queen Of Soul’s songs became top tens. Later in her life, she preformed the national anthem at the 2006 Super Bowl. By 2014, Franklin was the first woman to have one hundred songs on Billboard’s Hot R&B list.

All these achievements made her an icon for civil rights activists and feminists. Aretha’s moving performances dazzled and inspired onlookers, which was no surprise. They still do today, and as I said, shall for quite a long time.

Franklin was surely determined to make her mark on the world, since it’s no doubt she did. So, here’s to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who may not be with us anymore– but she will be forever in our hearts.

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The Queen of Soul: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin