Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76. The music icon had been ailing lately and reports said her health had greatly declined this week. A publicist for Franklin confirmed that she passed away in her home town of Detroit this morning.
The owner of one the most famous singing voices of the past century, Franklin began her career singing in church as a child and became a professional musician performing gospel music as a teenager. In 1960, she signed to Columbia Records and released a number of albums but did not become a star until she joined Atlantic Records in 1967.
Working with producer Jerry Wexler, among others, Franklin released a string of successful albums featuring a number of unforgettable hit songs, including her signature anthem “Respect,” as well as “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” and many more.
Franklin joined Arista Records in 1980, releasing many more albums and in 1986, made a comeback with the hit singles “Freeway of Love” and the George Michael duet “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” She also made an impression with her cameo in The Blues Brothers, singing “Think” to her movie husband, Matt “Guitar” Murphy (who passed away in June).
Throughout her career, she earned 44 Grammy nominations, 18 Grammy awards and in 1987, was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
FMQB Publisher Kal Rudman remarks, “Aretha Franklin personified the unbelievable power of Rhythm & Blues. The magic story of the power of Aretha Franklin emerged when she entered the glory of recording for Jerry Wexler at the incredible Atlantic Records. Her stature in R&B music surpassed anyone before or since. The Queen of Soul has been taken from her throne, and it shall always remain empty. This is a monumental loss to music lovers everywhere.”
On behalf of the staff of the Friday Morning Quarterback, we send our deepest condolences to her family.