ARETHA FRANKLIN: the Queen of Soul
Both for her extreme powerful voice at every vocal range and for melancholy which her songs are marked by, Aretha Franklin is defined one of the greatest singer of all time.
Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis on 25 March 1942 from a preacher father and a gospel singer mother. After her parent’s separation, she moved with her father and sisters to Detroit where she came into contact with the music world stars of the future. During religious services where her father was minister, the Franklin sisters sang in the choir while Aretha played the accompanying piano.
Notwithstanding two very precocious maternities, Aretha demonstrated both great passion for gospel and determination to be a professional in the music world. During 50’s, when still 15 years old not only she was already mother of two children but she signed her first contract with the Columbia Records company and brought to success some disks of her.
In 1961 Aretha married Ted White who became her manager at the Columbia but who later proved to be violent and deceptive.
The first albums were too pop for her voice and they did not obtain the expected commercial success, so the Columbia company fired her who soon signed another contract with Atlantic. The change of company allowed her to became “the Queen of the Soul”, in fact from that time on Aretha donated music to the world by feeling free to express her deepest emotion: sadness and bitterness. Aretha became notorious internationally representing reason of pride for American black minorities, especially when she composed the song “Respect”, the anthem for civil rights and feminist movements.
After a period of abuses due to the husband’s alcoholism, in 1969 she divorced and devoted herself to music to the point of dominating charts, obtaining golden and platinum disks and placing all her songs in the Top 10 Billboard.
In 70’s after several fruitful collaborations with artists such as Quincy Jones, the emerging success of disco music caused to Aretha a not booming period from critics and public and that was the reason why she was fired from Atlantic Records too.
In 1980 she gained a role in “The Blues Brothers” movie and in the same year she signed a new contract with Arista Record, the company which led her to success again. During the first half of eighties Aretha came back on the top of charts with the album “Jump To It” and performed unforgettable duet with George Michael and Eurythmics.
In 1998 during the Grammy Awards show she substituted Luciano Pavarotti who was hit by aphonia: she sang what is considered one of the her greatest performance, the song “Nessun dorma” in a very original way: she sang the first stanza in Italian.
On 20th January 2009 she performed at the inauguration ceremony of the 44th USA president Barack Obama on live television.
On August 2018 was spread the new that she was hospitalized for a pancreatic cancer; she died in very few times in her house at Detroit.
During her time life she won 21 Grammy Awards, eight of which were won consecutively from 1968 to 1975.