Born: March 25, 1942
Place of Birth: Memphis, Tennessee
Aretha Franklin was one of three daughters of the Reverend C.L. Franklin, a noted church minister in Memphis and, later, Detroit.
The girls sang in church choirs from a very early age and got to know many musical stars such as Mahalia Jackson and Smokey Robinson.
Franklin at age 12-14 became a solo gospel artist and released her first album "The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin" in 1956.
She moved to New York City in 1960 and was signed by Columbia Records producing several albums over the next few years.
Her artistry had moved from just gospel to rhythm and blues with some success but nothing in the super star status.
In 1967 Aretha Franklin signed with another label, Atlantic Records, which had several successful R&B artists being produced by Jerry Wexler.
Wexler added a new band for Franklin and pressed her to sing a combination of gospel, R&B, blues, and pop songs that became to be known as "soul" music.
Franklin then looked to have a hit with "I Never Loved a Man" which spent nine weeks as Billboard's number one R&B tune.
In the next three years her records sold by the millions contrasting with her earlier experiences with Columbia.
One song, a black spiritual song called "Respect", earned her two Grammy Awards.
In the 70's Aretha Franklin was beset with some personal problems involving a break-up with her husband, Ted White, and dealing with her father, an alcoholic.
She pushed on and throughout the 80's and 90's continued making an assortment of hit records.
Franklin showed her true talent at the 1999 Grammy Award show when the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti became ill and could not perform his
solo number; in respect Aretha Franklin took his place and sang his song and received an outstanding ovation.
In the year 2000, many fans and people in the music field have stated she was the greatest singer over the past century.
In 2004, Aretha Franklin was presented her 18th Grammy Award.
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