by Ron Worthy
Earlier this week, the World got notice that the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was “gravely ill.” Immediately, social media was on fire with well wishes, thoughts, and a stream of some of her most beloved songs. On the other side of the tributes were folks urging people to not bury the Queen prematurely.
So when we all heard the news earlier this morning that the one and only Aretha Franklin had passed away from pancreatic cancer at 76, the whole World, in particular, her fans, took a hard blow to their hearts. Miss Franklin was not only an iconic singer second to none, but she was a force of nature. Her voice and talent spanned over 60 years and crossed more genres than we can name. During the civil rights era, her songs “Respect” and “Think” cried out for more than equal treatment within a relationship. They became anthems for the Black community in a similar fashion as James Brown’s “Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).
Throughout the 1970s, she consistently hit the charts with classic grooves and ballads like “Rock Steady”, “Until You Come Back To Me”, “Day Dreaming” and so so many more. Unlike several notable stars from that era, she was able to successfully navigate the 80s with a string of hits like “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love” and “Who’s Zoomin Who” among others.
Even throughout the Golden Area of hip-hop and beyond, Aretha Franklin was one of the most sampled artists having been sampled over 400 times by such notable artists as EPMD, Mos Def, Slum Village, Kanye West and dozens of others. She broke through boundaries and changed with the times and showed that true talent knows no barriers.
During the 90s and the 00’s, she emerged as a beacon of strength and hope to the Nation. You would be hard pressed to find any event of National importance where Miss Franklin was not asked to participate. Having received notable honors from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and singing at the historic Inauguration of President Barack Obama, she is certainly one of the most decorated and celebrated singers of all time. This, in addition to her dozens of awards, #1 singles and other accolades make her a true treasure, not just for America, but for the World. Her presence will forever be missed but her impact will never fade.
We miss you dearly Aretha and will certainly “Say a Little Prayer for You.”
Check out this playlist filled with some of our favorite songs by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
Ron Worthy is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of soulhead.com. A passionate audiophile who has been a DJ for over 25 years, Ron studied classical music and plays 4 instruments. He loves discussing all things Prince, Hip-Hop, and Funk. When he is able, he shoots a mean game of pool, digs comedy, loves eating fried fish sandwiches, making crab cakes and drinking micro-brews from all over the World. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and cat. Check out some of his work for soulhead.