Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, and arguably one of the greatest American music artist who ever lived, has passed away. She was 76 years old.
Aretha Franklin, the self-taught piano prodigy, vocalist and songwriter who first conquered the charts in the late ’60s and never relinquished her throne, died Thursday morning of advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, her publicist confirmed.
A musical phenomenon who crossed musical, racial and gender barriers, Franklin began her vocal career as a teenager, singing gospel hymns in her father’s Detroit church. From these humble beginnings she scaled to the very heights of stardom, scoring her first national chart-topper in 1967 with a searing version of “Respect.”
Since then, the artist has notched 77 Hot 100 chart entries, and earned an astounding 18 Grammys out of 44 nominations. In 1987, two decades after her first No. 1, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was later named the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone.
Everybody who is anybody would agree with that accolade. Aretha was one of a kind, and while I’ll always remember her music, I’ll especially appreciate her performance in The Blues Brothers.
Sleep well, Aretha. Music will never be the same.