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Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76. The ‘Queen of Soul’ had been diagnosed with cancer back in 2010 and passed away in Detroit today.

Her final performance was  last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation and her final studio album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics was issued in 2014.

In a 60-year career Franklin enjoyed enormous success, particular during the Atlantic era with songs such as ‘Respect’, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, ‘Chain of Fools’ and ‘I Say A Little Prayer’.

In the 1980s Franklin signed with Arista and reached new audiences by duetting with the likes of Annie Lennox, Michael McDonald and George Michael. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) went to number one in eight countries around the world, including the US and the UK.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts on Aretha’s passing and her contribution to music.

31 responses to Aretha Franklin dies aged 76

  1. Greg says:

    What a singer and what a piano player as well.

    Here’s a clip of a 70-something Aretha singing My Cup Runneth Over With Love and mixing gospel, soul and Broadway while playing some of the funkiest keys out there. What a talent!!!

    https://youtu.be/XV5pLBEIQzE?t=432

  2. Stephen dC says:

    Part of being a true diva is to not knock ten bells out of every tune just because you can hence ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ is a perfect slice of pop.

    Her version of Jumping Jack Flash is better than the original in my eyes/ears.

    The fact that the music business is so full of fake diva’s these days only magnifies her already monumental status.

    • Julian H says:

      I don’t like her version of Jumping Jack Flash at all! Sadly, most of what she did since her comeback doesn’t really appeal to me. The power was gone (which she tried to overcompensate by screaming way too much).

      But of course her classic 60s recordings rule supremely, and she was an exceptional singer back then – effortless and powerful. RIP.

  3. Simon says:

    One of three fantastically talented sisters, let’s not forget Erma and Carolyn. All superb.

  4. Robbert says:

    What a legacy! RIP Queen of Soul.
    Lets hope now finally all the Atlantic lps will be released on CD.

  5. Tom of FIN says:

    “Say a little prayer…” To the day, 16th August, as Elvis died, queen of soul and king of rock.

  6. Peter Muscutt says:

    Like some here, I was not of the “era” for Aretha, but loved her duet with George Michael which I probably first heard courtesy of my mum while she did the housework!! And of course, ‘Respect’ was featured in the classic movie Airplane! when the nun sings it to the sick patient on the plane…perhaps the first time I heard that song!

    Great singer though, made it look completely effortless and shows what a true gift she had.

  7. Charlie Waffles says:

    A great woman. I wish Legacy Recordings would manufacture physical copies of the Take A Look cd box set that is now out of print. It was only released in 2010. Her early work on Columbia was very good.

  8. Jurg says:

    No record collection is complete without Aretha Franklin. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is on Paul Simons collection album “Songwriter”. But not the Simon & Garfunkel version or his own interpretation of his song. No, it’s the Aretha Franklin version. It shows how much she’s respected.

  9. Nigel Bevan says:

    Always a sad loss when a legend dies and along with James Brown, Aretha is pure Soul and the foundation of Dance Music as I deem her to be.

    Freddie Mercury commented that “Amazing Grace” was his favourite album. The inspiration that gave us “Somebody To Love”. I eventually seeked this album out and when I played it blew my mind and is still a regular listen all these years later. Needless to say it was played yesterday and she was certainly in my thoughts

  10. Keith Brittain says:

    Aretha also had her biggest (by sales) in 1985 with the “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” album. It yielded the “Freeway of Love” and title track singles. I highly recommend the extended two CD version. The “Freeway of Love” 12 inch on disc two is worth the price of admission alone. RIP.

    • Jordan Awe says:

      This is one of my favorite albums ever. Such a great singer and I completely agree, the two CD version is the best. Just listen to the “Who’s Zoomin’ Who (Acappella Mix)” – Incredible to hear her vocals isolated. They just don’t make singers like this anymore ;)

  11. Ausmonty says:

    I have the MOFI ” Aretha’s Gold” LP and have been waiting to the right time to play it. This weekend, the house will be filled with her brilliant voice. What a great singer and a great legacy. Another member for the “Rock n Roll Heaven” RIP.

  12. Kenneth says:

    What a voice. Rest In Peace, Aretha.

  13. Larry Davis says:

    Ya know, I’m not all that familiar with the majority of her work…the occasional hit here and there…never heard the bulk of the Atlantic stuff (besides “Respect” and “Natural Woman”), but I recently (serendipitously??) came across used that 4CD Atlantic box “The Queen Of Soul” in good shape in a friends’ revamped expanded store…didn’t see a price on it…but for some reason, I was tempted to buy it then, but am on a tight budget this month…next month, September, if it’s still there, I’ll fork over the cash, as I am really curious…and what changed my mind of the greatness of her talent was one of her last Arista albums, “A Rose Is Still A Rose”, which I thought was quite excellent…she can take what would be crap in one person’s hands and make it a gem in her’s. RIP Queen…funny, Nicki Minaj just put out her latest album called “Queen”…the title should be Aretha’s, not Nicki’s…even tho that record might be good…oh and I really love that duet with George, always have…not a badly-written song at all, but even so, they both sang the crap out of it…

  14. AndyB says:

    The radio keeps playing her late 60s and early 70s stuff. Especially the slow ballads.
    I’m blasting ‘Freeway of Love’ and enjoying how she could lift me up so, so far with that voice. Don’t forget to celebrate her life while mourning her death!

  15. Ben Williams says:

    Fabulous voice, and so much soul – her versions of You Send Me and Bridge Over Troubled Water are stunning. BIG loss for American music and anyone who has heard and loved her music, she was one of the absolute best singers. We should all rush out and get Aretha’s Greatest Hits if we don’t already own it.

  16. GentleRabbit says:

    A little flash of light in an often dark world… rest in peace. Our heroes grow fewer and more precious each day that passes. Thank you, Aretha.

  17. Christian says:

    Yeah, she truly had an amazing voice. I only know a handful of her songs and the duets she’d done with popular artists of the ’80s. My only big sigh will come when we’ll start getting a plethora of releases from a greatest hits to some sort of retrospective with unreleased tracks.

  18. Eric says:

    Another legend gone. Thankfully her legacy will continue forever.

  19. Adrian Slatcher says:

    Really sad day for music. Alongside her Atlantic classics I’ve a lot of time for Curtis Mayfield helmed Sparkle, ostensibly a soundtrack album, but a great mid 70s album.

  20. The Golden Age Of _ _ _ _ _ _ ` _ says:

    I`m not a fan of the music sung by Aretha Franklin but even my cloth ears can recognise that the lady had a magnificent voice.

    She was also a great humanitarian who played a huge part in the Civil Rights Movement.

    The world is a lesser place at this time.

  21. phantomengineer says:

    I don’t usually do the tribute thing, but Aretha wasn’t just the Queen of Soul, she was the ultimate Ruler. The best voice singing, certainly on her Atlantic (and under-rated CBS) LPs, the best songs, the best interpreter of others material (and the best versions of such – yes I know Dionne Warwick is along side her in relation to the Bacharach-David songs), and a great and under-rated songwriter in her own right. I’m not a fan of the Arista stuff – unfortunately like may ’60s and ’70s pop icons, she was not best served by production values and record companies in the ’80s and ’90s – and I agree with John Peel, in that being involved in rubbish like the George Michael duet, whilst at least bringing her to the attention of a younger demographic, was not the best use of her talents. We shouldn’t forget also, and to be fair to Messrs. Ackroyd and Belushi, her iconic brief appearance in the Blues Brothers film.
    We don’t need an excuse to play those Atlantic LPs, but let’s let them blast out of every house tonight…

  22. PaulL says:

    Truly a giant of modern music. Goodbye and thank you!

  23. Kevin Wollenweber says:

    Aretha Franklin, one of the greats! She lived a full life, and her music shows it! Her legacy and spirit will never die!! Rest in peace!

  24. Simonf says:

    Another truly great loss for music and for her millions of fans worldwide. When Aretha sang you just had to take notice, there was no way you could ignore that magnificent voice.
    Earlier this year I finally purchased the excellent Atlantic Albums Collection which contains all of the finest Aretha you could ever wish for, and have throughly enjoyed what I have heard so far. Taking the suggestion of Jeremy Corbyn via his Twitter tribute to Aretha, I am currently listing to ‘Aretha Live At Filmore West’. It’s quite extraordinarily magnificent.
    I leave the last word to John Peel from Top Of The Pops 1987 after the George Michael/Arethra Franklin duet ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’,( a song, which let’s face it did neither singer any favours whatsoever) had been played he mused “You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has”.
    RIP Aretha and thank you.

  25. Yani P says:

    There are not many voices that are instantly recognisable and make you just sit back and say wow..Karen Carpenter was one Aretha certainly another…

  26. Martin Stacey says:

    ….and ‘Through The Storm’ with Elton John in 1989.

  27. Adam Shaw says:

    Another great artist has gone .
    Thank you Aretha for the the music you gave us .

  28. Dmitry says:

    So sad…

  29. Sean L says:

    Really sad, what a voice, what a woman !

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