RSU Radio Remembers Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul”, passed away at the age of 76 after battling pancreatic cancer, according to reports.

Franklin started her career singing gospel in the church where her father preached. She continued her gospel career on tours with her father until she was 18, when she began recording pop music and was signed with Columbia Records in 1960. Ms. Franklin is known for her powerful hits such as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and “Chain of Fools”.

She was an inspiration for women in the music industry and a strong advocate for equality. One of Franklin’s most popular songs, “Respect”, was a sign of feminism and freedom. While the song is written from a female’s perspective directed at a man, the song resonated with men and women alike. “Respect” was popular in the late 60’s, a time of social upheaval in America amidst the civil rights movement. The song resonated with black Americans who were frustrated with the lack of progress on social change. At age 16 she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and eventually sang at his funeral.  According to her Rolling Stone biography, she was “one of the most influential and important voices in pop history”.

Her career consists of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Franklin has been honored many times throughout her musical career including being inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame, the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and being included in more than one all-time lists such as the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list in Rolling Stone Magazine. Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Everyone knows at least one of Franklin’s songs. We have all sang and danced along to “Respect” at least one time in our lives. Her impact went beyond music, being a voice for equality and love for all. Franklin’s music was strong and beautiful and will continue to inspire anyone who listens.