Aretha Franklin

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Franklin, Aretha,

1942–, American singer, b. Memphis. She began singing in the choir of her father's church. Known as the "Queen of Soul," she recorded such hits as "Respect," "Chain of Fools," and "Who's Zoomin' Who," "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman," and "Highway of Love."


See her autobiography (with D. Ritz, 1999); biography by D. Ritz (2014).

Franklin, Aretha

(1942–  ) soul singer; born in Memphis, Tenn. Daughter of Detroit clergyman C. L. Franklin, she sang in church choirs as a child and at age 14 joined her father's traveling gospel revue. Although she began recording at age 18, it was at Atlantic Records beginning in 1966 that she worked with experienced rhythm-and-blues musicians and was encouraged to use her gospel roots. In 1967 she gained fame with the release "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You." This and four subsequent number one hits ensured a large following. In the 1980s, recording for Arista, she overcame a creative slump and added 3 Grammies and 2 gold records to the many she has earned during her career. Her passionate virtuoso singing and tight arrangements give her music an eloquent intensity. In 1986 she starred in the retrospective television special, Aretha! and in 1989 she was the subject of a documentary video, Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul. Her highly flamboyant live performances, such as that in the Radio City Music Hall in 1990, never failed to draw full audiences.