As we say our goodbyes to the “Queen of Soul” we ought to take a look back on some of her incredible music.
Aretha Franklin started her singing career as a child singer in a gospel choir at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where her father, C.L. Franklin was a minister. In 1960, the 18-year-old decided to pave her own path in the music industry.
The young artist had a short career with her first label, Colombia Records. She later signed with Atlantic Records in 1967 where she recorded her first hit “Respect,” and the rest was history.
In her singing career, Aretha Franklin received almost 50 award nominations from Grammys, AMAs, MTV Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and many other honors. With those nominations, the singer took home a whopping 38 wins, genuinely showcasing her pure talent.
In honor of Ms. Franklin’s passing on August 16th, 2018, at 76-years-old, let’s take a look at some of the singer’s top hits over the years and celebrate her incredible talent that will live on forever.
Originally sung by Otis Redding in 1965, Aretha Franklin decided to do a cover of her own, and because of that decision, “Respect” became an Aretha Franklin signature.
While magazines like Ebony were calling it “the new Negro anthem” and feminists were praising her for the song’s message, Franklin thought of it differently.
“I think that hook like is something we all relate to,” she told the Detroit Free Press in June 2017. “It’s something we all appreciate and expect.”
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” 1967
Released as the lead single in her 1968 album Lady Soul, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” will also go down in history as one of Franklin’s most memorable songs.
When asked if she saw herself as an example for strong women by Vogue in 2015, she replied, ” I am a natural woman. I think that women have to be strong. If you don’t, some people will run right over you.”
“I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) 1967
In March 1967, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) became Franklin’s first Number One hit on the R&B chart. Ironically enough, it happened to also be on her 25th birthday.
It was like a symbol that once she signed with Atlantic Records, she was ready to show the world what her music was really made of.
“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” 1986
Originally performed by the Rolling Stones in 1968, Franklin worked alongside two of the drummers from the band; Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood to update the track in 1968.
The song was produced for the Whoopi Goldberg film in 1968 appropriately called, Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
“First Snow In Kokomo” 1972
This song’s mood was different than a majority of Franklin’s songs. It was smoother and didn’t have as much groove as the rest of her hits, why?
The song was a part of her Young Gifted and Black album, where she described a visit to her longtime companion, Ken Cunningham, in his Indiana hometown of Kokomo.
“Rolling In The Deep (The Aretha Version)” 2014
Apart of her 41st and final album, Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, Franklin decided to do her own cover of Adele‘s hit song, “Rolling In The Deep.”
This song was not only Adele’s first Number One hit, but it also became Franklin’s 100th single to hit the Billboard R&B chart.
“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” Aretha Franklin & George Michael 1987
When George Michael went solo from the band WHAM! he decided to debut with some of his favorite soul singers including Ms. Franklin. This song ended up being her only Number One single in the U.K.
Rest in Peace Aretha, your songs will live on forever.