Aretha Franklin, born March 25, 1942, was a pianist, singer, and songwriter crowned the ‘Queen of Soul’ thanks to her spectacular musical abilities. Born in Tennessee to a Baptist preacher, Reverend Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer, Franklin was involved in both the church and music from a young age. In 1960, Franklin signed with Columbia Records in New York and then released her first album, “Aretha” the following year. Franklin went on to become a household name as the Blues genre grew within the U.S. and the world.
Aretha Franklin, born March 25, 1942, was one of four siblings. She grew up in a religious and musical family, with her talents noted from a very young age. Unlike many other signers, songwriters and pianists, Franklin was self-taught and was considered a prodigy when she started to sing for her father’s congregation. By the time she was 14, she had recorded a few of the songs that she had performed in front of the congregation with a small recording label. The first album was called “Songs Of Faith.” In 1960, when Franklin was 18 she moved to New York to pursue a musical career. She was signed with Columbia labels, releasing her first professional album only a year later. Two songs from this album made the ‘R & B Top 10’ and the single she released called ‘Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody’ reached number 37 on the Pop Charts. The success she found in her career was not the only exciting thing the singer enjoyed in the same year, 1961, she married her manager, Ted White, at 19. The couple divorced in 1969.
While the early days of Franklin’s career were successful, she began to hit her stride in 1966, when she signed with Atlantic Records. The songs that followed on through her time with this recording studio thrust the singer into the spotlight. Songs like ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)’ and ‘Do Right Woman—Do Right Man’ become top-charting hits heard and played internationally. The 1970s and 1980s saw the singer’s career go up and down and also her personal life, though her music later plateaued to the extent of her being one of the most soulful singers of her generation!
Aretha Franklin achieved great success in her life, with multiple Grammy awards, top-charting tracks, and an enriched career that made her name known globally. The Queen Of Soul passed away in 2018 after falling ill at the age of 76. While she is mourned for the great singer and songwriter that she was, her music still lives on and is celebrated today.
Franklin releases her first album called “Songs of Faith” which she performs for a live audience.
It marks the start of Franklin’s professional career.
Franklin drops her first professional album called “Aretha”
Franklin is awarded for the Best R & B Performance and Female Best R & B Vocal Performance.
Franklin becomes the first woman to get the prestigious spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Why We Love Aretha Franklin
She was a symbol for black empowerment
Franklin was born into a time when people of color were not afforded the same respect and opportunities as white people. She was an advocate for change throughout her life, supporting other black artists and making strides in her career despite the racial discrimination she faced.
She spurred a movement for gender equality
Franklin was a role model for fighting for racial equality. She was also a powerhouse figure in objectifying discrimination against gender.
She was a cultural icon
Franklin created soulful and beloved music that brought people together. Her music continues to do this today, even after her passing.
5 Surprising Facts
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
Franklin was inducted on 3 January 1987 and created a space for female artists to follow.
She was self-taught
Franklin learned to sing, play the piano, and even write music by herself at a young age.
Her voice is a natural resource
It was made official in 1985 by the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan.
She was a gospel singer
Franklin began her singing career humbly by singing in the gospel choir.
She had her first child at 13
She had her first child at 13 with her high school friend, Donald Burk.
Aretha Franklin FAQs
Is Aretha Franklin still alive?
No, the singer, songwriter, and pianist passed away in 2018.
How many husbands did Aretha Franklin have?
She had two husbands. Ted White, whom she married in 1961 but divorced in 1969, and then Glynn Turman, who she married in 1978 and then divorced in 1984.
What did Aretha Franklin die of?
She died of pancreatic cancer.
Aretha Franklin’s birthday dates