Aretha Franklin facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Franklin in 1968
Aretha Louise Franklin
March 25, 1942
|Died||August 16, 2018
|Cause of death||Pancreatic cancer|
Ted White (m. 1961–1969)
Glynn Turman (m. 1978–1984)
|Origin||Detroit, Michigan, U.S.|
Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. She began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father, C. L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but achieving only modest success. After signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and success with songs such as "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Spanish Harlem" and "Think".
Early life and career: 1942–1960
Aretha Massacorale Franklin was born at a two-room house in Memphis located at 406 Lucy St. She was the third of four children born to Barbara (née Siggers) and C.L. Franklin and the fifth of six overall in between past relationships by her parents.
Following the move to Detroit, Franklin's parents, who had a troubled marriage, split. Due to her father's work as a Baptist minister, Franklin was primarily raised by her grandmother, Rachel.
Franklin suffered a tragedy when her mother died in Buffalo when Aretha was ten.
Franklin sang in church at an early age and learned how to play piano by ear. By her late preteens, Franklin was regularly singing solo numbers in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church. Franklin's father, C.L. (short for Clarence LaVaughn), was a respected and popular preacher.
Franklin grew up with local and national celebrities hanging out at her father's home including gospel greats Albertina Walker and her group The Caravans, Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, three women who played a pivotal role in her vocal development as a child.
Music style and image
Franklin had often been described as a great singer and musician due to "vocal flexibility, interpretive intelligence, skillful piano-playing, her ear, her experience".
Franklin's voice was described as being a "powerful mezzo-soprano voice". She was praised for her arrangements and interpretations of other artists' hit songs.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama wrote the following regarding Franklin:
Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and roll — the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings. That's why, when she sits down at a piano and sings 'A Natural Woman,' she can move me to tears — the same way that Ray Charles's version of 'America the Beautiful' will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed — because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.
Franklin is one of the most honored artists by the Grammy Awards, with 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She had 20 #1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Respect" (1967) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987), a duet with George Michael. Since 1961, she had a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also had 14 singles that sold more than one million – more than any other female artist. Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 #1 R&B albums – more than any other female artist.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked her at top of its list "The Greatest Singers of All Time" In 2005, she was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. On February 6, 2006, she performed, along with Aaron Neville, "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XL. The same year she got an honorary Doctor of Music degree by the Berklee College of Music.2010, Franklin received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Yale University.
Franklin was the mother of four sons, Clarence, Jordan, Ted and Kecalf.
Franklin was married twice. Her first husband was Ted White, whom she married in 1961 at the age of 19. She married her second husband, actor Glynn Turman, on April 11, 1978, at her father's church. They divorced in 1984.
Franklin's sisters, Erma and Carolyn, were professional musicians and spent years performing background vocals on Franklin's recordings. Her brother Cecil became her manager.
On June 10, 1979, when her father, C. L., was shot twice at point-blank range in his Detroit home. Aretha moved back to Detroit in late 1982 to assist with the care of her father, who died at Detroit's New Light Nursing Home on July 27, 1984.
Franklin was a Christian and was a registered Democrat.
On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit. She was reported to be under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, and ex-husband Glynn Turman, among others, visited her on her deathbed. Franklin died at home on August 16, 2018, aged 76. The cause was reported to be advanced pancreatic cancer.
Franklin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979, had her voice declared a Michigan "natural resource" in 1985, and became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded her a Grammy Legend Award in 1991, then the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. Franklin was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994, recipient of the National Medal of Arts in 1999, and was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. She was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2005.
Franklin became the second woman inducted to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. She was the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year, performing at the Grammys days later. Following news of Franklin's surgery and recovery in February 2011, the Grammys ceremony paid tribute to the singer with a medley of her classics performed by Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Yolanda Adams. That same year she was ranked 19th among the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time top artists, and ranked first on the Rolling Stone list of Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2013, she was again ranked first in Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Singers" list.
Inducted to the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, Franklin was described as "the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America" and a "symbol of black equality". Asteroid 249516 Aretha was named in her honor in 2014.
"American history wells up when Aretha sings", president Obama explained in response to her performance of "A Natural Woman" at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll—the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope". On June 8, 2017, the City of Detroit honored Franklin's legacy by renaming a portion of Madison Street, between Brush and Witherell Streets, "Aretha Franklin Way".
On January 29, 2018, The Oakland Press′s correspondent Gary Graff confirmed that the American Idol runner-up Jennifer Hudson will take the role to play Franklin in her coming biopic. The news was announced by the the film's executive producer Clive Davis, who made public their decision on the choice of actors casting in the film two days before Graff's article was published.
An all-star tribute concert to Franklin, celebrating her music, is scheduled for November 14, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
|Aretha Franklin's 18 Grammy Award Wins|
|1||1968||Best Rhythm & Blues Recording||R&B||Respect|
|2||1968||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Respect|
|3||1969||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Chain Of Fools|
|4||1970||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Share Your Love With Me|
|5||1971||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Don't Play That Song For Me|
|6||1972||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Bridge Over Troubled Water|
|7||1973||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Young, Gifted and Black (album)|
|8||1973||Best Soul Gospel Performance||Gospel||Amazing Grace (album)|
|9||1974||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Master Of Eyes|
|10||1975||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing|
|11||1982||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Hold On...I'm Comin' (album track)|
|12||1986||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Freeway Of Love|
|13||1988||Best Female R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Aretha (album)|
|14||1988||Best R&B Performance – Duo Or Group with Vocals||R&B||I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (with George Michael)|
|15||1989||Best Soul Gospel Performance – Female||Gospel||One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (album)|
|*||1991||Living Legend Award||Special|
|*||1994||Lifetime Achievement Award||Special|
|16||2004||Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||Wonderful|
|17||2006||Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance||R&B||A House Is Not A Home|
|18||2008||Best Gospel-Soul Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group||Gospel||Never Gonna Break My Faith (with Mary J. Blige)|
- Top 10 US Hot 100 singles
|1967||"I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)"||9|
|1967||"Baby I Love You"||4|
|1967||"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"||8|
|1967||"Chain of Fools"||2|
|1968||"(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone"||5|
|1968||"The House That Jack Built"||6|
|1968||"I Say a Little Prayer"||10|
|1971||"Bridge Over Troubled Water" / "Brand New Me"||6|
|1973||"Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)"||3|
|1985||"Who's Zoomin Who?"||7|
|1985||"Freeway of Love"||3|
|1987||"I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (with George Michael)||1|
Images for kids
A wax sculpture of Franklin on display at Madame Tussauds in New York City
Aretha Franklin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.