Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen Of Soul’, has died aged 76.
The legendary singer’s publicist has confirmed she died today (August 16) at her home in Detroit.
Franklin was diagnosed with an unspecified illness, believed to be pancreatic cancer, in 2010.
The artist, an 18-time Grammy winner, is perhaps most loved for her run of 1967 hits such as Respect, Chain Of Fools, Baby I Love You and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
This golden period kicked off Franklin’s 12-year recording career with Atlantic Records, following a stint with Columbia in the early ’60s.
Her other hits on Atlantic included Think, The House That Jack Built and Say A Little Prayer (all 1968), as well as Spanish Harlem (1971) and Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) (1972).
Franklin, who later signed with Clive Davis’ Arista Records in 1980, released 42 studio albums across her career – with 20 No.1 singles on the US R&B charts.
Davis, who also worked on Franklin’s 2014 LP, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, said today: “She was truly one of a kind. She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world. Apart from our long professional relationship, Aretha was my friend. Her loss is deeply profound and my heart is full of sadness.”
“She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world.”
John Legend called Franklin: “The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known.”
And Sir Paul McCartney said: “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever.”
In a joint statement, Atlantic Records’ co-Chairmen Craig Kallman & Julie Greenwald said: “Aretha Franklin was a pillar of Atlantic Records and transformed global culture. From that day in January 1967, when producer Jerry Wexler took Aretha to Muscle Shoals, Alabama and she sat down at the piano to record her first Atlantic record, ‘I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)’, music was never the same.
“Back then, there was no one who sang the way she did, who took the roots of gospel and R&B and infused them with that originality, power, fervor, and depth. Aretha was always in charge – of the songs she sang and the songs she wrote; how she sang them and how she played them. In her dozen years with Atlantic, she created a phenomenal body of work that entered the timeless musical canon and has had an unequaled impact on artists across the globe.
“Aretha’s prodigious talent came from a place of honesty, integrity, and strength, and her boundary-breaking approach extended far beyond her music.”
“Aretha’s prodigious talent came from a place of honesty, integrity, and strength, and her boundary-breaking approach extended far beyond her music. She was a tireless champion of civil rights and social justice, and above all, a global citizen who strived her entire life to erase boundaries of race, culture, gender, and nationality. All of us in the Atlantic family are deeply proud to be a part of her extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family at this very difficult time.”
In a company statement, Sony Music said: “Aretha Franklin was one of the most iconic voices in music history and a brilliant artist. Over the course of her decades-long career, which included many years with the Sony Music family, she inspired countless musicians and fans, and created a legacy that paved the way for a long line of strong female artists. Sony Music joins the world in mourning her passing.”
Bette Midler tweeted: “The greatest voice in American popular music has been stilled. Our beloved Aretha Franklin has gone. For me, she was a musical lighthouse, guiding and inspiring with every note. I loved her so and love her still. Goodbye, Queen of Soul.”
“Aretha’s influence on music, culture, and history is incalculable.”
And Warner Music Group’s CEO of recorded music, Max Lousada, commented: “There are great artists and there are transcendent artists – artists who break new barriers and take us to places we never imagined. Aretha elevated soul from genre to high art. She defied musical categorization, bringing her phenomenal talent to R&B, pop, blues, gospel, rock, jazz, and classical music.
“Aretha’s influence on music, culture, and history is incalculable. We will be forever grateful for everything that she accomplished as an artist, a woman, and a beacon of humanity.”Music Business Worldwide