Franklin
Franklin (Matthew Jordan Smith)

Aretha Franklin Passes (Updates: Statements, Larry LeBlanc’s Album Liner Notes, Etc.)

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DETROIT (CelebrityAccess) Aretha Franklin, 76, the Queen of Soul, singer of “Chain of Fools” and “Respect,” and the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has passed away at her home in Detroit, her publicist has confirmed. The singer died after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Queen of Soul passed away the same day as the King of Rock, Elvis Presley. A memorial for Franklin at Madison Square Garden is being organized by Clive Davis, who signed Franklin to Arista in 1980.

Photo Credit: Jim Hill

“Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute” in Detroit, the family said in a statement. The family added: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit in 1960 where her father, C.L. Franklin, was minister. She was born in Memphis; her father originally preached in Shelby, Miss., with her mother, Barbara Franklin, playing piano and singing. The marriage eventually fell apart with rumors of C.L. Franklin’s philandering.

Aretha’s mentor, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, helped raise Aretha after her mother died in 1952 before Franklin’s 10th birthday. Meanwhile, CL Franklin became known as the preacher with the “million-dollar voice,” making thousands giving sermons across the country. C.L. Franklin’s house became so famous that it was visited by Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and Martin Luther King Jr., among others.

CL Franklin eventually became Aretha’s manager, helping to produce a two-song demo that would be bought by Columbia Records. She began recording for Columbia at age 18, even though one of her idols, Sam Cooke, attempted to persuade CL to have Aretha sing with his label, RCA. CL was also courted by by local record label owner Berry Gordy.

Larry LeBlanc’s liner notes for Aretha Franklin’s “30 Greatest Hits,” 1985:

Aretha signed to Atlantic Records in 1967, achieving success with songs like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Spanish Harlem,” and “Think,” which she co-wrote. Her moniker “Queen Of Soul” arrived by the end of the 60s.

Franklin charted 112 singles on Billboard including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 Top 10 singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 No. 1 R&B singles, making her the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.


 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

(Peers give tribute, interspersed throughout the article)

After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin joined Arista Records, about the time she appeared in “The Blues Brothers” and she continued with the label through 1998’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who? and its single “Freeway Of Love.” She won international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun doma” at the Grammys that year, replacing Luciano Pavarotti. She scored her final Top 40 recording that year with “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

“I booked her many times over the years and little did I know the last time would be when we celebrated what would be her very last birthday at Mohegan Sun Arena,” the casino’s Senior VP of Sports & Entertainment Thomas Cantone told CelebrityAccess. “She shared the cake with fans and gave another standing O performance. We just lost the Queen of America’s greatest iconic  voices.”

Franklin has a total of 18 Grammy Awards and has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit in 1960 where her father, C.L. Franklin, was minister. She was born in Memphis; her father originally preached in Shelby, Miss., with her mother, Barbara Franklin, playing piano and singing. The marriage eventually fell apart with rumors of C.L. Franklin’s philandering.

Aretha’s mentor, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, helped raise Aretha after her mother died in 1952 before Franklin’s 10th birthday. Meanwhile, CL Franklin became known as the preacher with the “million-dollar voice,” making thousands giving sermons across the country. C.L. Franklin’s house became so famous that it was visited by Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and Martin Luther King Jr., among others.

CL Franklin eventually became Aretha’s manager, helping to produce a two-song demo that would be bought by Columbia Records. She began recording for Columbia at age 18, even though one of her idols, Sam Cooke, attempted to persuade CL to have Aretha sing with his label, RCA. CL was also courted by by local record label owner Berry Gordy.

Aretha signed to Atlantic Records in 1967, achieving success with songs like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Spanish Harlem,” and “Think,” which she co-wrote. Her moniker “Queen Of Soul” arrived by the end of the 60s.

Franklin charted 112 singles on Billboard including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 Top 10 singles, 100 R&B entries and 20 No. 1 R&B singles, making her the most charted female artist in the chart’s history.

After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin was signed by Clive Davis and joined Arista Records, about the time she appeared in “The Blues Brothers” and she continued with the label through 1998’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who? And its single “Freeway Of Love.” She won international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun dorma” at the Grammys that year, replacing Luciano Pavarotti. She scored her final Top 40 recording that year with “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”


Franklin has a total of 18 Grammy Awards and has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. , Franklin has been described as “the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America” and a “symbol of black equality.”Franklin received an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2014, as well as honorary doctorates in music from Princeton University, 2012; Yale University, 2010; Brown University, 2009; Berklee College of Music, 2006; New England Conservatory of Music, 1995; and University of Michigan, 1987. Franklin was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Wayne State University in 1990 and an honorary Doctor of Law by Bethune-Cookman College in 1975.

Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the first female performer to be inducted. She was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T:

“A national treasure to everyone. But to me personally, Aretha Franklin was my dear, dear friend, my homegirl, and I loved her a lot. From seeing her as a baby singing and playing at the piano at her father’s home, to her giving a rousing performance at the White House, she has always been amazing. No matter how the music has changed over the years, she remained so relevant.” — Berry Gordy

“This morning my longest friend in this world went home to be with our father. I will miss her so much but I know she’s at peace.” — Smokey Robinson

“I’m absolutely devastated by Aretha’s passing. She was truly one of a kind. She was more than the Queen of Soul. She was a national treasure to be cherished by every generation throughout the world. Apart from our long professional relationship, Aretha was my friend. Her loss is deeply profound and my heart is full of sadness.” — Clive Davis

“Her voice; her presence; her style. No one did it better. Truly the Queen of Soul. I will miss you!” — Lionel Richie

“The loss of Aretha Franklin 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 favorite pianists.” — Elton John

“From the time that Dinah Washington first told me that Aretha was the ‘next one’ when she was 12-years old until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar upon which every female singer has and will be measured. And she did it with the professionalism, class, grace and humility that only a true Queen could. I treasured every moment that we spent together from working in the recording studio, to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or simply hanging in the kitchen, and I will miss her dearly. RIP Ree-Ree. You will reign as the Queen forever.” — Quincy Jones


“Today the world has experienced a tremendous loss. Aretha was a rare treasure whose unmatched musical genius helped craft the soundtrack to the lives of so many.” — Patti LaBelle

“For more than 50 years, she stirred our souls. She was elegant, graceful, and utterly uncompromising in her artistry. Aretha’s first music school was the church and her performances were powered by what she learned there. I’ll always be grateful for her kindness and support, including her performances at both my inaugural celebrations, and for the chance to be there for what sadly turned out to be her final performance last November at a benefit supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS. She will forever be the Queen of Soul and so much more to all who knew her personally and through her music. Our hearts go out to her family and her countless fans.” — Bill Clinton

“Aretha Franklin — I want to thank her for her wonderful voice singing the theme song of ‘A Different World.’ She made a big, strong positive impact on that series. I am playing a cut from her CD — the title of the song is ‘Wholy Holy’ — and she’s live in a church. Bon Voyage.” — Bill Cosby

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