Aretha Franklin, with her inimitable fusion of grace and grit, was the definition of soul music. Her father C.L. Franklin was a renowned Detroit preacher, and these gospel roots are embedded within Aretha’s music. Her music aches with the sadness of a singer who truly felt the blues, yet also has the ability to playfully swing in the style of her jazz heroes.
Aretha was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942, and brought a blast of empowerment to the charts at the peak of the civil rights era. Though she rarely strayed from gospel in the following decades, her 1967 single ‘Respect’ earned her the right to evolve alongside soul itself. Nothing captured Aretha’s range like her trove of covers, from Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ to Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’, her show stopping performances were often so deeply felt that she all but reclaimed them as her own.