The “Queen of Soul” died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit of pancreatic cancer, her niece Sabrina Owens confirmed to the Detroit Free Press. She was 76. In remembrance of the late legend, here are some fascinating facts about her .
1. Hard work makes a Queen of Soul
By the time she turned 10, Aretha was already singing in her father’s church. He had noticed her talent, and as someone with a gifted voice himself, C.L. Franklin encouraged his daughter to sing gospel. Aretha continued to regularly sing at the iconic New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father was minister until the age of 18. But even after she started her secular musical journey, Aretha remained a staunch supporter of the church, performing regularly at Bethel.
While her first contract with Columbia Records brought only moderate success, Aretha moved on to Atlantic Records and discovered her true voice in soul music. Soon she would dominate the charts and be known as the Queen of Soul, a title she firmly holds to this day. Songs like “Spanish Harlem,” “Natural Woman” and, of course, the seminal “Respect” skyrocketed her career.
Probably Aretha Franklin’s most famous song, “Respect” has remained to this day one of the most iconic songs of female empowerment, although it is by far not the only Aretha tune to celebrate womanhood and female power.