Remembering the "Queen of Soul"

By Skylar Letteer


On August 16th, Aretha Franklin passed away from pancreatic cancer. Although she had various health issues, including weight gain, her vibrant spirit and powerful songs influenced people of all generations. During her prolonged battle with cancer, her songs continued to climb the charts, proving her captivating star quality. While the world grieves the loss of Aretha Franklin, there is no doubt that her music will have a lasting impression on people from every walk of life.

Aretha’s rise to fame began when she was singing gospel music with her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin. At fourteen, she recorded her first album, a gospel collection titled Songs of Faith which was taped at her father’s church. Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace record is the highest selling live gospel album of all time. After gospel, Franklin began her career in jazz and show tunes by signing with Columbia Records. During her time with Columbia Records, Aretha sold only minor hits throughout the six year contract. Franklin then signed with Atlantic Records in 1966 where her producer embraced her soul and gospel sound, which lead to hits such as “Respect” and “I knew you were waiting for Me”. Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, introducing new admirers who would follow her through her years.

With her health depleting, Franklin was determined to continue to put out her influential music. Old and new fans alike stood by her during the duration of her final days, embracing the passing of a legend. The funeral will be held in Detroit and attended by friends and family with performances from Stevie Wonder and Faith Hill. As years pass, the world will long for her passionate contributions to the art of music. Generations will become more appreciative of Aretha Franklin’s fiery presence and hopeful attitude.