Universally acclaimed ‘Queen of Soul’, Aretha Franklin, died of Pancreatic cancer at her home in Detroit, US. She was  76.

The famous American vocalist and songwriter began exploring world of music since she was a child. She began with Gospel music at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Becoming a voice for women

Franklin, through the medium of music, voiced issues of women. Her song ‘Respect’, which became a huge hit, wasn’t just a song but a silent protest against men who ill-treat their wives. The lyrics — “All i’m asking is for a little respect when you come home’’ — said it all and helped inspire many women.

Her Achievements 

From having placed more than 100 singles in the Billboard charts, including 17 Top 10 pop singles, Franklin is the first lady ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She is a recipient of 18 Grammy Awards. In 2014, she was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from Harvard University for her contribution to music.

“In a musical career of more than five decades, Aretha Franklin had more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts. But more importantly, she freed other singers to let their voices fly,’’ said Jon Pareles, chief popular music critic for The New York Times.

Franklin even sang ‘My Country ’Tis of Thee’ at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Obama also came on Twitter to express how she contributed towards America through her music.

Traumatic Life

Being the daughter of a Piano player, Franklin was introduced to music early. But her mother died before her 10th birthday. In later years, her father was shot twice at point blank range while Franklin was performing. She lost two of her sisters to breast and throat cancer.

At 19, she married Theodore Ted White, but the marriage didn’t last due to domestic violence. She even separated from her second husband. From excessive weight loss to uncontrollable smoking habits intervening with her vocal quality, she suffered great health problems. 

Her all-time favourite songs include Thinking, I knew you were waiting, I say a little prayer, Rolling in the deep, Natural woman, One step ahead and Oh me oh my. 

Long live the Queen of Soul!

Picture Credit: That Grape Juice

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Dolly Bhardwaj is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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