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“Say A Little Prayer” for The Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin




by G. Brown

Fans of Aretha Franklin are hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst as major news outlets reports that the singer is gravely ill.

According to USA today, “A person close to Franklin, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to publicly talk about the topic, confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the singer is seriously ill.”  The article continued saying, ” This follows an earlier report from Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411, saying that the 76-year-old soul legend is surrounded by “family and people close to her” in Detroit.

As fans around the world unite in prayer TRN takes a look back the soulful voice and legendary music that has earned Franklin the title of “The Queen of Soul”.

Aretha Franklin began singing as a child on the gospel choir at the church where her father ministered.  By the time she turned 18, Aretha was ready to leave the spirituals behind for secular music. Her first recording for Columbia Records obtained only modest success.  Another song, “Won’t Be Long” did manage to climb to #7 on R&B chart, but Franklin was a far cry from being an overnight sensation.  The label tried showcasing Franklin’s vocal agility in several genres like R&B, Jazz and Doo-wop.  With her recording of “Rock a Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”, Franklin finally found her first top 40 hit and international fame.

In 1967, Franklin switched labels, inking a deal with Atlantic Records and the hits started pouring out of her…”Respect”, “A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem”.  In three years, her golden voice had already carved out a title that would lovingly be bestowed upon her for decades to come–‘Queen of Soul’.

Her career spans almost a half a century and spawned a total of 112 singles to top charts, 17 top ten hits—making Aretha one of the most charted female singers in chart history.  Her hits include  “Chain of Fools”, “Rock Steady”, “Jump to It” and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?”.  Aretha wasn’t just topping R&B charts, but her rich, warm, smooth  and agile clarity belted out tunes that Pop and other charts couldn’t ignore.

Franklin won 18 Grammys, sold over 75 millions and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the UK Music Hall of Fame, the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame and is listed in Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the Greatest Singers of All Time.

Her voice has been the soundtrack for generations of young lovers, scorned women,  civil rights activists and those searching for hope in life.  Her talent has inspired countless artists and comforted strangers befriended by her melismatic crooning.  Her voice has launched Super Bowls, serenaded Presidents taken her to sing before royalty and is the reason why she will always be the one and only “Queen of Soul”.

With so many people praying for Aretha, here’s a song to inspire us all.  Aretha Franklin singing “I Say A Little Prayer”.


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