Aretha Franklin has passed away on Thursday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.
In the 1960s, 'Respect' was the unofficial soundtrack of the decade. At a time when racial tensions and discrimination were still rife, the anthemic hit transcended colour lines. "In black neighborhoods and white universities, her hits came like cannon balls, blowing holes in the stylized bouffant and chiffon Motown sound, a strong new voice with a range that hit the heavens and a center of gravity that was very close to earth," wrote Gerri Hirshey, author of Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music. Beyond the black power movement, it caught on with feminists, human rights activists, and people whose voices have been silenced across the world—such was the power of one Aretha Franklin.
Aretha Franklin was so much more than just a singer—she was a groundbreaking artist, the voice of a generation, the Queen of Soul. Best known for her now-classics 'Respect' and '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', Franklin is the most charted female artist in Billboard history, with an astounding 112 singles that have made the charts. She also became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Heartfelt tributes are pouring in as the world mourns the loss of a musical legend that they have come to know, love and respect.
The loss of @ArethaFranklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. pic.twitter.com/ug5oZYywAz
This photo was taken in 2012 when Aretha & I performed at a tribute celebration for our friend Marvin Hamlisch. It’s difficult to conceive of a world without her. Not only was she a uniquely brilliant singer,but her commitment to civil rights made an indelible impact on the world pic.twitter.com/Px9zVB90MM
This is the face of a young man who couldn't believe he was actually singing with the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. Thank you, Ms. Franklin for blessing us with your incomparable gift. Honored to have shared the stage with you even for a moment. Always bowing down to you. #QueenofSoulpic.twitter.com/4bZVAWcqeS
From the time that Dinah Washington 1st told me that Aretha was the “next one” when she was 12-years old, until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar & she did it with the professionalism, class, grace, & humility that only a true Queen could... : Hassan pic.twitter.com/IjT6I7NH1D
.@ArethaFranklin was a unique thread in the fabric of our nation’s history. The Queen of Soul’s music played a vital role in uniting this country during some of our most trying times. She will be missed.
The @AmericanIdol fam had the great privilege of working with the iconic Aretha Franklin for a special ep in Detroit. The world will miss her as she’s left an indelible mark on our culture. Her artistry & music will move & inspire us forever. Rest in peace to the Queen of Soul. pic.twitter.com/3LaOL6wvkn
Mourning the loss today of @ArethaFranklin who shared her spirit and talent with the world. She deserves not only our RESPECT but also our lasting gratitude for opening our eyes, ears and hearts. Rest in eternal peace, my friend.