The Queen is Gone: Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

Cover photo, Syracuse JazzFest 2007, Aretha helped put JazzFest on the map 

In the music industry where the shelf life is short, Aretha maintained a career for 60 years. At a time when youth is seen as being the primary driver of modern music Aretha defied conventional wisdom. Aretha sang everything from Gospel to Operatic Arias, transforming American Women by her thematic songs that continue to inspire. Respect is a theme song for the ages.  The Aretha Franklin catalogue tells a story, for those over 60, she represents the soundtrack of our lives.

Aretha Franklin beginning her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister.

Back when our playlist was a stack of records spinning, once the needle hit the vinyl, it was on.  Chain of Fools, Respect;  she moved us with Rock Steady, and of course the empowering anthem, You Make me Feel Like a Natural Woman. As times changed she took us on that, Freeway of Love in her pink Cadillac. She channeled our loneliness with Bridge over Troubled Waters.

Aretha graced the stage locally at the 2007 Syracuse JazzFest making the event a must attend event of the summer.

A champion of Civil Rights a gospel singer who bridged the gap between gospel music and popular music becoming the Queen of Soul. Performing until recently, when she became ill.  I can’t pick a favorite song because every time I do, I hear another. You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, bought President Obama to tears at a recent Kennedy Center Honors performance, where Franklin sang this iconic song in front of the songwriter Carol King. Viewing that video today, it was evident this was a special performance, something we are going to treasure for decades to come.

Aretha Franklin has won more than 20 Grammy Awards, 75 million in record sales. Rated “Number 1 Greatest Singer of All Time” by Rolling Stone magazine. Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, among other countless honors.

Long live the spirit of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, you’ll be sorely missed.

The following is a A-Z list  and link to songs by Aretha Franklin: