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Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

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Re: Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Mon 03 Sep 2018, 5:08 pm

Fox Host Blows Whistle on Who Was Sitting 3 Seats from Clinton at Aretha’s Funeral
The Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakkhan, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton were seated in the front row of Aretha Franklin's funeral service on Friday. Many news organizations omitted Franklin's presence from their coverage. Scott Olson / Getty Images
The Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakkhan, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton were seated in the front row of Aretha Franklin's funeral service on Friday. Some news organizations omitted Farrakhan's presence from their coverage. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)
By Jack Davis 
September 2, 2018 at 11:47am
After Friday’s celebration of singer Aretha Franklin’s life — a celebration that preached the themes of joy and unity — Fox News host Martha MacCallum put her finger on one prominent aberration.
Seated with prominent dignitaries, in fact seated just three seats away from former President Bill Clinton, was Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has made no secret of his hatred of Jews, gays and whites, TheBlaze reported.
“There were some beautiful performances today at Aretha Franklin’s funeral in Detroit. The guests ranging from world leaders to musical legends and one especially controversial figure seated in the front row. Many people kind of wondering what the unapologetic anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan was doing up there,” MacCallum said Friday.
“He, you know, has said awful things about Jewish people, about white people, about gay people and I thought it was never the message that I heard in Aretha Franklin’s music,” MacCallum said.
MacCallum said that despite inspiring musical performances at Franklin’s funeral, she was “distracted by Louis Farrakhan who was in every single shot.”
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“I’m thinking, ‘What was he doing there?’” MacCallum said.
Farrakhan sat next to Al Sharpton, who sat next to Jesse Jackson. Jackson sat next to Bill Clinton.
“Why was (Farrakhan) so front and center?” MacCallum asked. “It’s something that’s supposed to be about Aretha Franklin became, I thought, in many ways about some of these gentlemen who were right behind.”
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 I was honored to be among the many who attended the beautiful funeral services in Detroit for our dear sister Aretha Franklin. She could never know how many lives her songs, her soul, have actually saved. https://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/Minister_Louis_Farrakhan_9/Aretha-Franklin-Our-Queen-And-Our-Giant.shtml

3:39 PM - Sep 1, 2018
Kylie Patterson of the New Leaders Council told MacCallum that Franklin and Farrakhan both worked for liberation of black Americans.
“We forget that she was really at the head of the liberation movement for years,” Patterson said.
“This is her funeral. I mean, it’s her choice- who she wants there, how she wants people sitting.”
In a separate broadcast, Fox News’ Pete Pete Hegseth suggested that under different circumstances, the presence of an extremist would have become a major story.

“I just think it’s such a double standard. Imagine if the inverse were to be true and there were a white national racist there, the media would blow it up,” he said, according to Newsbusters.
RELATED: Democrat Who Allegedly Blamed Jews for Bad Weather Donated to Nation of Islam Event
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Some media organizations dealt with Farrakhan’s presence by omitting him in photos of the funeral.
Deadline noted that Franklin and Farrakhan went way back, citing a statement from Farrakhan.

“In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support,” Farrakhan wrote in the Aug. 21 edition of The Final Call, a publication of the Nation of Islam.
“She asked me if Rev Jesse Jackson had been there to show support. I said, not yet. She said, he’ll be here within 48 hours. Rev Jackson came and stood with the Muslims.”
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

What Was Louis Farrakhan Doing at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral?
Farrakhan — who has for decades been criticized for anti-Semitism and homophobia — had a prominent place on the dais at Aretha Franklin’s star-studded funeral
The Forward and Aiden Pink Sep 03, 2018 3:24 PM

Louis Farrakhan, from left, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton attend the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Greater Grace Temple, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit
Louis Farrakhan, from left, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton attend the funeral service for Aretha Franklin, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in DetroitAP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan — who has for decades been criticized for anti-Semitism and homophobia — had a prominent place on the dais at Aretha Franklin’s star-studded funeral, sitting three seats away from former president Bill Clinton.

Farrakhan wrote in The Final Call, the Nation of Islam’s newspaper, that Franklin had shown support in 1972 after one of his mosques was attacked by police. “I will cherish her life, her voice, and her soul and remember her with deep and abiding love for what she did for me, our people and for all of humanity who were blessed by her time and service among us,” Farrakhan wrote.

Unlike Clinton and others he shared the stage with, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Farrakhan did not deliver a eulogy or sermon. But he was greeted warmly by many also in attendance, including Detroit Pistons basketball legend Isiah Thomas, who gave him a big hug.

Thomas is now an analyst for NBATV and the team president of the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association — a league that has prioritized outreach to gay fans and players, which is a marked contrast to Farrakhan’s longstanding homophobia.
 Should Bill Clinton have shared the stage with Louis Farrakhan at Aretha Franklin's funeral?https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/what-was-louis-farrakhan-doing-at-aretha-franklin-s-funeral-1.6442245 …
The pinned tweet on Farrakhan’s Twitter account, which was recently de-verified as part of the social media company’s purge of hate figures, includes a link to a sermon in which he promises “Thoroughly and completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan

Despite his decades of controversy, Farrakhan remains admired by many prominent African-Americans. He enlisted some of the world’s most famous musicians, including Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan — both of whom also performed at Franklin’s funeral — to participate in his recent seven-album box set “Let’s Change the World.”
Farrakhan said in August that a documentary tracking his long musical career and showing the making of his album would be aired by Netflix in August, but the entertainment company quickly announced that it would not stream the film.

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Re: Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Sep 2018, 7:22 pm

MSNBC Posts Disastrous Tweet About Aretha Franklin Attendees, Blatantly Removes Farrakhan from Image
SEPTEMBER 2, 2018 AT 6:35AM
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Singing star Aretha Franklin was laid to rest last week in an affair befitting a queen. And that’s how it should have been — she was the Queen of Soul, after all, not to mention a national treasure whose music will likely be as resonant a century from now as it is today.

That said, the funeral produced some news of its own, none of it befitting Franklin’s legacy. There was Bill Clinton demonstrating what they mean when they talk about the “male gaze,” and a pastor touching pop singer Ariana Grande in what many viewers thought was an inappropriate manner.

While that generated plenty of tweets and retweets, one thing didn’t — at least not at first. And yet, it might have been the most egregious thing that happened at the funeral — at least, as far as the media was involved.

Much like other media outlets, MSNBC live-tweeted Franklin’s funeral pretty extensively. One of the network’s tweets captured MSNBC personality/teleprompter-slaughterer Al Sharpton, civil rights icon Jesse Jackson and former President Bill Clinton together:
 · Aug 31, 2018
Replying to @MSNBC
View image on Twitter
Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and fmr. President Bill Clinton attend Aretha Franklin's funeral celebration. http://nbcnews.to/2wwoVST  pic.twitter.com/hI7Z4GtvnV

4:02 PM - Aug 31, 2018
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TRENDING: MSNBC Posts Disastrous Tweet About Aretha Franklin Attendees, Blatantly Removes Farrakhan from Image

A dignified shot of the three men. There was a slight problem in the editing, however. Well, probably not as far as MSNBC was concerned, but there was something out of frame Twitter users may have wanted to know about:


That guy on the far left, of course, is Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, who was given a relatively conspicuous seat at the funeral. Franklin’s relationship with Farrakhan was one of the less-savory aspects of her personality, and it had lasted decades.

“In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support,” Farrakhan said in a statement after her death, according to Deadline.

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“She asked me if Rev Jesse Jackson had been there to show support. I said, not yet. She said, he’ll be here within 48 hours. Rev Jackson came and stood with the Muslims.”

Well, okay, Farrakhan is a controversial figure. But as self-professed follower of Farrakhan Chuck D of Public Enemy once advised us in The Real Hip Hop, don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man. So, all right — let’s do just that.

Farrakhan on Jews (The Weekly Standard): “Don’t you forget, when it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!”

Farrakhan on Jews and certain German leaders (The New York Times): “The Jews don’t like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that’s a good name. Hitler was a very great man.”

Farrakhan on Jews again (Jewish Virtual Library): “I believe that for the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States, they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government …Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control … “

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Farrakhan on white people (The U.K. Guardian): “White people are potential humans — they haven’t evolved yet.”

Farrakhan on America (Yellow Hammer News): “America is in trouble, and I say God is about to wipe this nation from the face of the Earth. I’m not crazy, I’m not drunk, how long do you think a nation can do evil and not face the wrath of God?”

Farrakhan on Hollywood (and oh yeah, Jews) (The U.K. Guardian): “I don’t own Hollywood. Who depicted black people? Who writes the books? Who writes the plays, the songs that make us look less than human? Do you mean to tell me that Jews have never done any evil to black people?”

I think I can now tell Mr. D that I do understand the man, yes. However, according to the rap legend, I’m still apparently just one of those conspiracy folks having a field day by, um, accurately stating the facts:

Chuck D
 @ArianaGrande singing tribute to The Queen funeral in Detroit with @LouisFarrakhan Rev Jax @ALSHARPTON_REV and Pres @BillClinton ...The conspiracy Folks probably gonna have a field day speculating-but the fact is that Aretha Franklin ushered this moment of cultural reSpect for US

5:33 PM - Aug 31, 2018
See Chuck D's other Tweets
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Well, whatever. I don’t think that Franklin’s mistaken association with Farrakhan should take away from an otherwise amazing life.

But let’s not kid ourselves: It was a mistake. An association with a hate figure isn’t a good look on anyone, no matter what they’ve done for music or civil rights. The fact that these three men, including a former president, were willing to stand in close proximity to Farrakhan also won’t win them any awards for solid judgment.

And as for the media (ABC also cropped out Farrakhan,as Twitchy noted), editing Farrakhan out of the picture does no favors to Franklin or to the truth. If anything, it prolongs our discussion of a critical lapse in judgment — not Franklin’s, but the media’s. And from the standpoint of the mainstream media’s already diminished credibility, the decision is nothing short of disastrous.

If this is what they’re cropping out of just one picture, what else is being cropped out of the narrative?

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Re: Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Sep 2018, 5:06 pm

Internet Explodes After Seeing What Bill Clinton Was Caught Doing at Aretha Franklin’s Funeral
SEPTEMBER 1, 2018 AT 9:40AM
There hasn’t been a time, at least in recent months, where I noticed Bill Clinton’s name trending on Twitter and thought it was a pleasant augury.

Clicking on that link never brought you to a story that said something like, oh, “Bill Clinton volunteering to build houses in flood-ravaged Haiti” or “Former President Clinton reads Dr. Seuss book to orphans.”

It’s always stuff like, “Bill Clinton isn’t sure Al Franken should have resigned for allegedly sexually harassing women the same way he allegedly sexually harassed women” or “Bill Clinton gets angry at an interviewer for bringing up the fact his behavior with the distaff gender probably wouldn’t fly today.” (These weren’t actual Twitter headlines, but don’t spoil my dream here.)

However, I was slightly hopeful when I saw that a clip of Bill Clinton from Aretha Franklin’s funeral was making the rounds. For his multifarious faults, Clinton has always been known for openly revering his favorite musicians. I always found that kind of quaint and sweet until I remembered literally everything else he had ever done.

So maybe this wasn’t so bad this time — right?

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And then I saw the clip involved Ariana Grande singing in front of the president, and I knew we were all doomed:


Tim Young
 Gross... Watch Bill Clinton look Ariana Grande up and down when she sings at #ArethaFranklinFuneral and try not to throw up in your mouth.

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Re: Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 7:38 pm

The Secret Jewish History of Aretha Franklin
To understand the close ties between the singer Aretha Franklin and Jewish musicians, writers, and performers, one need not have seen the 1982 TV special starring Rodney Dangerfield

The Forward, The Associated Press and Benjamin Ivry Aug 16, 2018 6:31 PM
Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning “Queen of Soul” who sang with matchless style on such classics as “Think” and her signature song, “Respect,” died Thursday at age 76, said her representative, Gwendolyn Quinn.

The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer.

To understand the close ties between the singer Aretha Franklin and Jewish musicians, writers, and performers, one need not have seen the 1982 TV special starring Rodney Dangerfield (born Jacob Cohen) in which the comedian who famously got no respect feigns singing backup on Franklin’s 1967 recording of the song “Respect.” The concept of respect was as vital in reality to Franklin as an African-American woman as it was in jest to Dangerfield’s onstage character. The song which it inspired would again be featured by Dangerfield during the end credits for his comedy film “Back to School” (1986).

Franklin’s choice to cover “Respect,” originally written and recorded as a macho demand for domestic deference by Otis Redding, was due to the American Jewish producer Jerry Wexler (1917–2008), born in the Bronx of Polish and German ancestry. Wexler, who also played a significant role in the early career of Ray Charles, among others, has been called the “funky Jewish king of black music.” Stephen Whitfield’s “In Search of American Jewish Culture” points to the empathy that Wexler felt for the African American struggle for civil rights, quoting him as follows: “As a Jew, I didn’t think I identified with the underclass, I was the underclass.” Wexler’s astuteness and understanding made a difference in many music careers, not least Franklin’s. Working with her sisters Erma and Carolyn as backup singers, Franklin added to Redding’s original song the spelled-out word R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the significant abbreviation TCB (for taking care of business), and the raucous choral interjection, “Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me.” Wexler’s further interpolations included the majestic tenor saxophone playing of King Curtis, who would perform with the organist Billy Preston on Franklin’s 1971 album “Aretha Live at Fillmore West,” galvanizing American pop music.

As Michael Billig’s “Rock and Roll Jews” notes, Wexler also alerted Franklin about American Jewish songwriters, including Burt Bacharach, whose “I Say a Little Prayer” she covered in 1968. Even more indelibly, in 1967 Wexler invented the song title “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” In a memoir, Wexler recalled how after having had this brainstorm, he assigned two Jewish songwriters, Carole King (born Carol Klein) and Gerry Goffin, to produce a tune for Franklin based on the title. The result was yet another iconic pop anthem. Franklin’s blend of gospel roots and glamorous, alluring vocal texture made “Natural Woman” into a giant hit.

Other Jewish songwriters and African-American performers shared similar collaborations. Franklin’s sister Erma, an elegant singer with a relatively brief career, was the first to record the love song “Piece of My Heart” by Jerry Ragovoy, of Hungarian Jewish ancestry, and Bert Berns, of Russian Jewish roots. According to Jon Stratton’s “Jews, Race and Popular Music,”, Erma Franklin drew on the gospel background which she shared with her sisters to make “Piece of My Heart” into an emotional, quasi-spiritual plea. Despite the attractions of her 1967 version, the song became a major hit only a year later, when it was covered by Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin as lead vocalist.

In 1971, in yet another unforgettable cover, Aretha Franklin recorded “Spanish Harlem,” a song created by three Jewish pop music stalwarts, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, and the now disgraced Phil Spector. As these shared cultural experiences accumulated with her acclaimed recordings, some listeners drew ethical or moral conclusions from Franklin’s creative and interpretive accomplishments. In a book about parent-child relationships which appeared in 2011 from the Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Rabbi Michael J. Broyde, professor of law at Emory University and former member of the Beth Din of America, explained how he was inspired by Franklin’s song “Respect.” Rabbi Broyde concluded that respect should be the essential component of the parent-child relationship from a Jewish ethical standpoint, even surpassing love. He added in a footnote: “To my dismay, this is also the first citation to Aretha Franklin in my work or, as far as I can tell, other works of Jewish law.” A useful precedent may have been set for interpreting halakha.

Another Jewish response to the songs of Aretha Franklin can be found in the playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s “An American Daughter” (1996). In Wasserstein’s play, one character chides another that “there is actual music past Aretha Franklin and the Beatles,” to which the reply is: “But I don’t like music past Aretha Franklin and the Beatles.”
Without necessarily sharing this viewpoint, music lovers today may concur that Franklin and other African-American performers, in close collaboration with Jewish colleagues, reached an apogee in popular music that is unlikely to be surpassed. Her biographer Mark Bego cites an interview given by Franklin to Jet Magazine in November 1970. Advocating a melting pot or tzimmes of identities and influences, she rejected categories or rigid identities in her music. Rather than stark identity politics, what mattered to Franklin was the communicative virtue of soulfulness, which she must have sensed in Jerry Wexler and other valued Jewish colleagues. This melding of cultures, styles, and sensibilities was somewhat ambiguously articulated in the article, which quotes Franklin as saying: “It’s not cool to be Jewish, or Negro, or Italian. It’s just cool to be alive, to be around. You don’t have to be Black to have soul.” Franklin’s point was that roots alone were no guarantee of coolness. Identity per se was not to be admired unless other positive elements accompanied it. These favorable aspects, as possessed by Wexler and songwriters in Franklin’s entourage, were essential for the shared public discourse which the world prized in her singing.

Franklin’s tzimmes approach has inspired new generations of listeners and musicians. One such is Joshua Nelson, an African-American gospel-inspired singer who has sung onstage at Franklin’s concerts as her opening act. After studies at Hebrew Union College and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Nelson became a full-time Hebrew language instructor at Sharey Tefilo-Israel, a Reform temple in South Orange, New Jersey. In an interview from 2006, Nelson praised Franklin for mixing soul elements with rhythm and blues in music, by her own example validating his own amalgamated status as a champion of Hebrew culture and African-American music.

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Re: Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 7:33 pm

Aretha Franklin - I Say A Little Prayer: her very best performance!

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Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76

Post  Admin on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 7:27 pm

Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dies at 76
In a musical career of more than five decades, Aretha Franklin had more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts. But more important, says Jon Pareles, chief popular music critic for The New York Times, she freed other singers to let their voices fly.Published OnAug. 16, 2018Credit
By Jon Pareles
Aug. 16, 2018

Leer en español
Aretha Franklin, universally acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul” and one of America’s greatest singers in any style, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76.

The cause was advanced pancreatic cancer, her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, said.

In her indelible late-1960s hits, Ms. Franklin brought the righteous fervor of gospel music to secular songs that were about much more than romance. Hits like “Do Right Woman — Do Right Man,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools” defined a modern female archetype: sensual and strong, long-suffering but ultimately indomitable, loving but not to be taken for granted.

When Ms. Franklin sang “Respect,” the Otis Redding song that became her signature, it was never just about how a woman wanted to be greeted by a spouse coming home from work. It was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less.

Ms. Franklin singing “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times
[Listen to a playlist of 20 essential Aretha Franklin songs.]

Ms. Franklin had a grandly celebrated career. She placed more than 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B hits. She received 18 competitive Grammy Awards, along with a lifetime achievement award in 1994. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987, its second year. She sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2009, at pre-inauguration concerts for Jimmy Carter in 1977 and Bill Clinton in 1993, and at both the Democratic National Convention and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.

Succeeding generations of R&B singers, among them Natalie Cole, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, openly emulated her. When Rolling Stone magazine put Ms. Franklin at the top of its 2010 list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” Mary J. Blige paid tribute:

“Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing.”


Ms. Franklin in an undated photo. Gospel was only part of her vocabulary, which also drew on jazz, the blues, rock and, later, opera.CreditExpress Newspapers/Getty Images
Ms. Franklin’s airborne, constantly improvisatory vocals had their roots in gospel. It was the music she grew up on in the Baptist churches where her father, the Rev. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, known as C. L., preached. She began singing in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, and soon became a star soloist.

Gospel shaped her quivering swoops, her pointed rasps, her galvanizing buildups and her percussive exhortations; it also shaped her piano playing and the call-and-response vocal arrangements she shared with her backup singers. Through her career in pop, soul and R&B, Ms. Franklin periodically recharged herself with gospel albums: “Amazing Grace” in 1972 and “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” recorded at the New Bethel church, in 1987.

Aretha Franklin - Respect [1967] (Original Version)CreditVideo by TatanBrown
But gospel was only part of her vocabulary. The playfulness and harmonic sophistication of jazz, the ache and sensuality of the blues, the vehemence of rock and, later, the sustained emotionality of opera were all hers to command.

[We want to hear from you. Tell us how Aretha Franklin’s music influenced you.]

Ms. Franklin did not read music, but she was a consummate American singer, connecting everywhere. In an interview with The New York Times in 2007, she said her father had told her that she “would sing for kings and queens.”

“Fortunately I’ve had the good fortune to do so,” she added. “And presidents.”

For all the admiration Ms. Franklin earned, her commercial fortunes were uneven, as her recordings moved in and out of sync with the tastes of the pop market.

[Aretha Franklin wasn’t just a vocal genius. She was a model of empowerment and pride.]

After her late-1960s soul breakthroughs and a string of pop hits in the early 1970s, the disco era sidelined her. But Ms. Franklin had a resurgence in the 1980s with her album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and its Grammy-winning single, “Freeway of Love,” and she followed through in the next decades as a kind of soul singer emeritus: an indomitable diva and a duet partner conferring authenticity on collaborators like George Michael and Annie Lennox. Her latter-day producers included stars like Luther Vandross and Lauryn Hill, who had grown up as her fans. Onstage, Ms. Franklin proved herself night after night, forever keeping audiences guessing about what she would do next and marveling at how many ways her voice could move.

Mother Sang Gospel
Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis on March 25, 1942. Her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, was a gospel singer and pianist. Her parents separated when Aretha was 6, leaving her in her father’s care. Her mother died four years later after a heart attack.

C. L. Franklin’s career as a pastor led the family from Memphis to Buffalo and then to Detroit, where he joined the New Bethel Baptist Church in 1946. With his dynamic sermons broadcast nationwide and recorded, he became known as “the man with the golden voice.”


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The Franklin household was filled with music. Mr. Franklin welcomed visiting gospel and secular musicians: the jazz pianist Art Tatum, the singer Dinah Washington, and gospel figures like the young Sam Cooke (before his turn to pop), Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland, who became Ms. Franklin’s mentors.

Future Motown artists like Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross lived nearby. Aretha’s sisters, Erma and Carolyn, also sang and wrote songs, among them “Piece of My Heart,” a song Erma Franklin recorded before Janis Joplin did, and Carolyn Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” a hit for Aretha. The sisters also provided backup vocals for Ms. Franklin on songs like “Respect.” From 1968 until his death in 1989, her brother Cecil was her manager.

Ms. Franklin started teaching herself to play the piano — there were two in the house — before she was 10, picking up songs from the radio and from Ms. Ward’s gospel records. Around the same time, she stood on a chair and sang her first solos in church. In David Ritz’s biography “Respect,” Cecil Franklin recalled that his sister could hear a song once and immediately sing and play it. “Her ear was infallible,” he said.

At 12, Ms. Franklin joined her father on tour, sharing concert bills with Ms. Ward and other leading gospel performers. Recordings of a 14-year-old Ms. Franklin performing in churches — playing piano and belting gospel standards to ecstatic congregations — were released in 1956. Her voice was already spectacular.

But Ms. Franklin became pregnant, dropped out of high school and had a child two months before her 13th birthday. Soon after that she had a second child by a different father. Those sons, Clarence and Edward Franklin, survive her, along with two others, Ted White Jr. and KeCalf Franklin (her son with Ken Cunningham, a boyfriend during the 1970s), and four grandchildren.

In the late 1950s, following the example of Sam Cooke — who left the gospel group the Soul Stirrers and started a solo career with “You Send Me” in 1957 — Ms. Franklin decided to build a career in secular music. Leaving her children with family in Detroit, she moved to New York City. John Hammond, the Columbia Records executive who had championed Billie Holiday and would also bring Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to the label, signed the 18-year-old Ms. Franklin in 1960.

Mr. Hammond saw Ms. Franklin as a jazz singer tinged with blues and gospel. He recorded her with the pianist Ray Bryant’s small groups in 1960 and 1961 for her first studio album, “Aretha,” which sent two singles to the R&B Top 10: “Today I Sing the Blues” and “Won’t Be Long.” The annual critics’ poll in the jazz magazine DownBeat named her the new female vocal star of the year.

Her next album, “The Electrifying Aretha Franklin,” featured jazz standards and used big-band orchestrations; it gave her a Top 40 pop single in 1961 with “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody.”


The marquee at the Apollo in New York in 1971.CreditTyrone Dukes/The New York Times
Her later Columbia albums were scattershot, veering in and out of jazz, pop and R&B. Ms. Franklin met and married Ted White in 1961 and made him her manager; he shares credit on some of the songs Ms. Franklin wrote in the 1960s, including “Dr. Feelgood.” In 1964 they had a son, Ted White Jr., who would lead his mother’s band decades later. (She divorced Mr. White, after a turbulent marriage, in 1969.)

Mr. White later said his strategy was for Ms. Franklin to switch styles from album to album, to reach a variety of audiences, but the results — a Dinah Washington tribute, jazz standards with strings, remakes of recent pop and soul hits — left radio stations and audiences confused. When her Columbia contract expired in 1966, Ms. Franklin signed with Atlantic Records, which specialized in rhythm and blues.

Pivot Point in Muscle Shoals
Jerry Wexler, the producer who brought Ms. Franklin to Atlantic, persuaded her to record in the South. Ms. Franklin spent one night in January 1967 at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., recording with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, the backup band behind dozens of 1960s soul hits. Ms. Franklin shaped the arrangements and played piano herself, as she had rarely done in the studio since her first gospel recordings.

The new songs were rooted in blues and gospel. And the combination finally ignited the passion in Ms. Franklin’s voice, the spirit that was only glimpsed in many of her Columbia recordings.

The Muscle Shoals session broke down, with just one song complete and another half-finished, in a drunken dispute between a trumpet player and Mr. White. He and Ms. Franklin returned to New York. Yet when the song completed in that session, “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You),” was released as a single, it reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 9 on the pop charts, eventually selling more than a million copies.

Some of the Muscle Shoals musicians came north to complete the album in New York. And with that album, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” the supper-club singer of Ms. Franklin’s Columbia years made way for the “Queen of Soul.”


Ms. Franklin at the Apollo Theater in 1971.CreditTyrone Dukes/The New York Times
“We were simply trying to compose real music from my heart,” Ms. Franklin said in her autobiography, “Aretha: From These Roots,” written with Mr. Ritz and published in 1999.

“Respect,” recorded on Valentine’s Day 1967 and released in April, was a bluesy demand for dignity, as well as an instruction to “give it to me when you get home” and “take care of T.C.B.” (The letters stood for “taking care of business.”) Her version of the song resonated beyond individual relationships to the civil rights, counterculture and feminism movements.

“It was the need of the nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher — everyone wanted respect,” she wrote in her autobiography.

“Respect” surged to No. 1 and would bring Ms. Franklin her first two Grammy Awards, for best R&B recording and best solo female R&B performance (an award she won each succeeding year through 1975). By the end of 1968, she had made three more albums for Atlantic and had seven more Top 10 pop hits, including “Baby I Love You,” “Chain of Fools,” “Think” (written by Ms. Franklin and Mr. White) and “I Say a Little Prayer.”


Ms. Franklin with her Grammy Award in 1975. She had won the Grammy for best female R&B performance every year since 1968.CreditAssociated Press
But amid the success, Ms. Franklin’s personal life was in upheaval. Songs like “Think,” “Chain of Fools” and “The House That Jack Built” hinted at marital woes that she kept private. She fought with her husband and manager, Mr. White, who had roughed her up in public, a 1968 Time magazine cover story noted, and whose musical decisions had grown increasingly counterproductive. Before their divorce in 1969, she dropped him as manager and eventually filed restraining orders against him. She also went through a period of heavy drinking before getting sober in the 1970s.

Her early 1970s pop hits, like her own “Day Dreaming” and the Stevie Wonder composition “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” took a lighter, more lilting tone, a contrast to her rip-roaring 1972 gospel album, “Amazing Grace,” which sold more than two million copies, making it one of the best-selling gospel albums of all time. Ms. Franklin recorded steadily through the 1970s and continued to have rhythm-and-blues hits like “Angel,” a No. 1 R&B single in 1973 written by her sister Carolyn.

But her pop presence waned in the disco era, and her 1976 album, “Sparkle,” written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, was her last gold album of the decade. It included “Something He Can Feel,” a No. 1 R&B single. When Ms. Franklin made a showstopping appearance as a waitress in the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers,” she revived an oldie: her 1968 song “Think.”

Ms. Franklin was married to the actor Glynn Turman from 1978 to 1984, and the divorce was amicable enough for her to sing the title song for the television series “A Different World” when Mr. Turman joined its cast in 1988.


Ms. Franklin and Glynn Turman, as they arrived at their wedding reception in 1978.CreditDoug Pizac/Associated Press
Ms. Franklin’s father was shot in the head during a break-in at his home in 1979 and stayed in a coma until his death in 1984. During those years Ms. Franklin shuttled monthly between her home in California and Detroit. As her marriage to Mr. Turman was ending, she moved back to Detroit in 1982.

Ms. Franklin was deeply traumatized in 1983 by a ride through turbulence in a two-engine plane that was “dipsy-doodling all over the place,” she recalled. She gave up flying, traveling instead by bus to her shows, and ended all international performances. In recent years she had hoped to desensitize herself and fly again, “even if it’s just one more time,” she said in 2007.

Aretha Franklin (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman - Kennedy Center Honors 2015CreditVideo by BuddyTravelr
Divas and Duets
Ms. Franklin changed labels in 1980, to Arista. There, her albums mingled remakes of 1960s and ’70s hits — “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Everyday People,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” “What a Fool Believes” — with contemporary songs.

Luther Vandross’s production of her 1982 album, “Jump to It,” restored her to the R&B charts, where it reached No. 1. But Ms. Franklin did not reconquer the pop charts until 1985, with the million-selling, synthesizer-driven album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” The singles “Freeway of Love” and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?,” both produced by Narada Michael Walden, placed Ms. Franklin back in the pop Top 10, and a collaboration with Eurythmics, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves,” reached No. 18.

Ms. Franklin had her last No. 1 pop hit with “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael from her 1986 album, “Aretha.” Her 1987 gospel album, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” featured performances with her sisters Carolyn and Erma, and with Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers, as well as preaching from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Cecil Franklin.


James Brown and Ms. Franklin in Detroit in 1987.CreditJoe Kennedy/Associated Press
Ms. Franklin recorded more duets (with Elton John, Whitney Houston and James Brown) on “Through the Storm” in 1989, and she made another attempt to connect with youth culture on “What You See Is What You Sweat” in 1991. She released only a few songs — singles and soundtrack material — through the mid-1990s.

But she rallied in 1998 with televised triumphs. She made a noteworthy appearance at the 1998 Grammy Awards, substituting at the last minute for the ailing Luciano Pavarotti by singing a Puccini aria, “Nessun dorma,” to overwhelming effect. On “Divas Live,” for VH1, she steamrollered her fellow stars in duets, among them Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. In the meantime, she had been working with younger producers again for her 1998 album, “A Rose Is Still a Rose”; the title track, produced by Lauryn Hill, reached No. 26 on the pop chart. After her 2003 album, “So Damn Happy,” Ms. Franklin left Arista, saying she would record independently.

Arista released the collection “Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets With the Queen” in 2007, including a previously unreleased song with the “American Idol” winner Fantasia. Ms. Franklin said in 2007 that she had completed an album to be called “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love,” with songs she had written and produced herself, but it was not released until 2011, on her own Aretha’s Records label. In 2008 she released a holiday album, “This Christmas.”


Ms. Franklin receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush in 2005.CreditEvan Vucci/Associated Press
Ms. Franklin stayed musically ambitious. She repeatedly announced plans to study classical piano and finally learn to sight-read music at the Juilliard School, but she never enrolled. She received several honorary degrees, including from Yale, Princeton and Harvard.

In 2014, Ms. Franklin returned to a major label, RCA Records, with her executive producer from her Arista years, Clive Davis. “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” presented her remakes of proven material: songs that had been hits for Adele, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor, Barbra Streisand and Sinead O’Connor. It reached No. 13 on the Billboard album chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart.

She had five decades of recordings behind her, but listeners still thrilled to her voice.


Ms. Franklin at the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 at Radio City Music Hall.CreditRebecca Smeyne for The New York Times
Correction: August 16, 2018
An earlier version of a picture caption with this obituary misstated the year the photograph of Ms. Franklin singing at the opening of the Tribeca Film Festival was taken. It was 2017, not this year. An earlier version of another picture caption misidentified the song Ms. Franklin sang at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. It was “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” not “America the Beautiful.”

Ben Sisario contributed reporting.

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