Last week the world lost the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Not only was she an unparalleled musician that inspired countless artists, she was a civil rights activist. Her music lifted up countless generations, providing strength and hope to many.
Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed at the inaugurations of three presidents, including Barack Obama’s. The state of Michigan deemed her voice so special they declared it a “natural resource” in 1985.
David Remnick aptly described part of what made Aretha Franklin such an incredible artist; “What distinguishes her is not merely the breadth of her catalogue or the cataract force of her vocal instrument; it’s her musical intelligence.”
She began her career as child, singing gospel music in church. As a twelve year old she began performing on “gospel caravan” tours with her father, a preacher. By the age of 19 she recorded “Rock-a Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” which reached the top 40 in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Her voice had a magical ability to reach down deep into her audience’s soul, to make the listener ascend with her as her voice seemed to reach for the heavens. Her extraordinary talent has been cherished by young and old alike, and is certain to make her revered for a long time to come.