Remembering the times Aretha Franklin blessed the sports world with her talent

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passes away at the age of 76

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passes away at the age of 76

Franklin underwent surgery for an unspecified illness, reported to be pancreatic cancer, in December 2010 and was frequently ill, while keeping a regular concert schedule, in the years since. From there, Franklin's music career, which spanned gospel, R&B, soul, and pop, took off.

She was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1994 and in 2005, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor. It's impossible to sum up a life like Aretha's but here are some vital facts to know.

Franklin did not perform regularly for many years, partly because of an aversion to flying after a rough trip in 1982.

It was closely followed up by an adapted cover of Otis Redding's classic hit Respect, which went to number one in the U.S. and made the United Kingdom top ten. This song nearly wasn't recorded: Franklin and the Sweet Inspirations were messing around in the control room, doodling with the melody and lyrics-Wexler heard them and quickly got them together with the musicians.

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But when she switched to Atlantic Records in the mid-1960s, producer Jerry Wexler knew just what to do with Franklin, putting her powerful voice in a setting that combined gospel, soul and rock and made her a superstar by letting "the lady wail".

In 1977, Franklin performed at the inaugural gala for President Jimmy Carter. Around that time she announced shed be phasing out live performances over the next year.

A Civil Rights icon in her own way — she sang at the memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and would later do so for Rosa Parks — Franklin proudly transcended racial and cultural barriers in her music.

Four years later, her mother died of a heart attack on March 7, 1952, fewer than three weeks before Franklin's tenth birthday. At the time of the inauguration, Franklin had been commissioning hats from Song for about two decades. Memorial in West Potomac Park.

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Aretha's father, C.L. Franklin, was one of the organizers behind the Walk To Freedom demonstration in Detroit on June 23, 1963.

In a statement, former president Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in part, "I'll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both of my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS". The 1972 release of "Amazing Grace" sold 2 million copies, the highest-selling gospel album of all time. Franklin won the prestigious award herself in 1994.

Ross praised her "wonderful golden spirit", while Sir Paul described the singer as "the Queen of our souls". "It was so exhilarating". It is she who picks up the rice in the church where the weddings have been. The video quickly went viral on social media. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated - she was one of my favourite pianists.

This story originally appeared on WAMU.

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