Singer Aretha Franklin Dies After Losing Battle To Pancreatic Cancer

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Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul", died Thursday at the age of 76. "She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world". Recorded in part at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, this was the album that introduced the Queen of Soul in all her glorious complexity: a voice of passion and reason, heart and mind, impatience and understanding.

"My parents took me to see Aretha Franklin at the Apollo Theater in 1971".

She followed up the next year by writing "Think", another tune that railed against her abusive husband while reflecting larger problems in society. Courted by multiple labels, including Berry Gordy's fledging Motown, she signed with Columbia Records in 1960. Named by Mojo magazine as the greatest singer of the 20 century, her singing was intense and personal, technically intricate yet appearing to spring from a place of pure feeling - that place that is sometimes called the soul. "And then, given the civil rights and feminist fervor that was building in the 1960s, respect - especially as Aretha articulated it with such force - took on new meaning".

Aretha won 17 Grammy Awards, including six for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and three for Best Soul Gospel Performance. But if it's alien to me, I couldn't lend anything to it. The marriage was short, but Aretha suffered domestic violence until her father helped her get out of the union through a divorce in 1969.

But here's the thing: "Respect" wasn't entirely Aretha Franklin's. In 1967, Aretha released her most famous song "Natural Woman" which ushered her properly into the commercial scene gaining white audience attention and European recognition. She had lifelong battles with her weight and with alcoholism. Her father was shot during a robbery and later died. "Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer, but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world", singer and actress Barbra Streisand tweeted.

She also sang at the October 2011 dedication of the King memorial in Washington, stirring the crowd with a rendition of the gospel anthem "Precious Lord". Her final performance was at an Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York City in November 2017. "Really a gifted singer", Harding-Davis said, adding her philanthropic ventures were often overlooked.

All week, tributes from fans and celebrities had been pouring in on social media.

Be sure to take a moment to click through the gallery above for photos spanning Aretha's iconic career. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Of course, regardless of any possible semblance of a business relationship he and Franklin shared, this is hardly the time to bring such matters to the public fore.

"Aretha's legacy should be excellence in music", Mitchell said. "It was her story", Carolyn told Ritz. While she denied the tumour was cancerous, the illness did cause Franklin to suffer significant weight loss, and she had to cancel a number of scheduled shows.

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