Aretha Franklin Biography Facts, Childhood, Career, Net Worth, Awards, Songs

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Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee 1942.
Multiple Grammy winner and “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin was known for such hits as “Respect,” “Freeway of Love” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”

Who Was Aretha Franklin?

Our dear Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee 1942.  She was a gifted  singer and pianist. She often went on tours with her father who was a preacher at the  Baptist church Detroit. Aretha Franklin’s singing career officially kicked-off, when  she visited New York, where she got signed into record label Columbia Records.

Aretha Frankling had a successful career, which dates back to 1987, when she produced several popular singles, which would go to become classics . Aretha Franklin also became one of the few to be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.

Aretha Franklin’s Early Life & Career

Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25,1942in Memphis, Tenesee, to renowned preacher  and father  Reverend Clarence La Vaughan “C. L.” Franklin  the African-American Baptist minister of New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan and mother  Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer .

When Franklin’s parents separated she was only 6, four years later her mother died of  a heart attack. Following the death of her mother, Franklin and her father relocated to Detroit, Michiga, Michigan. C. L. eventually arrived at the  New Bethel Baptist Church, where he gained national renown as a preacher.

Like many other child prodigies,  Aretha Franklin’s abilities began to manifest at an early age . She was a gifted pianist with a powerful voice, her music career sterted right in the front of her father’s congregation.

Aretha Franklin was only 14, when she  recorded some of her earliest tracks at his church, which were released by a small label as the album Songs of Faith in 1956. She also got a chance to feature on C. L.’s traveling revival show and, while on tour, befriended gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke and Clara Ward.

Ceremony for the Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Aretha Franklin’s Father and Mother

Aretha Franklin’s fathers name is  Clarence La Vaughan “C. L.” Franklin.

Aretha Franklin’s mothers name is  Barbara Siggers Franklin.

Aretha Franklin’s Children

Aretha Franklin had a go at life at a rather tender age, she became a mother at the age of 14 with her first son Clarence. A second child, Edward, followed two years later with both sons taking her family’s name. Franklin would later have two more sons: Ted White, Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham.

Aretha Franklin’s  Albums & Songs


In 1960 Aretha Franklin’s returned to the spotlight, influenced by the likes of  Cooke and Dinah Washington, Franklin took a dive into the  pop and blues territory. With the support of her loving father, Franklin traveled to New York. After trying a handful of labels, including Motown and RCA, she signed with Columbia Records, who released the album Aretha in 1961.

All two tracks became instant sensations as they topped R&B top 10, not big enough, Aretha Franklin’s “Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” moved over to No. 37 on the pop charts.

Though Franklin’s recordings over the years got her her fair share of popularity, she thought there was something lacking. In 1966 Franklin  and her new husband and manager, Ted White, realized a change was the right way to go as she signed to Atlantic. Following record deal with Atlantic, Aretha Franklin would eventually be shuttled Franklin to the Florence Alabama Musical Emporium (FAME) recording studios, with the help of Producer Jerry Wexler .

“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”

Aretha Franklin, with the help of  Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section  -made up of  guitarists Eric Clapton and Duane Allman — Th gifted singer recorded and released single  “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” But trouble soon set in as Aretha’s husband “White”, had an argument with one of the band members leading to their abrupt exit.

Becoming a Top 10 crooner, she went back to New York where she completed the partially recorded track   “Do Right Woman—Do Right Man.”

But as the single became a massive Top 10 hit, Franklin re-emerged in New York and was


1967 and 1968 saw Franklin , release a couple of hit singles that went on to become evergreen classics,  showcasing Franklin’s powerful voice and gospel roots in a pop dominates setting.

Aretha Franklin released the album  “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)“, with the first song titled  “Respect” — an empowered cover of an Otis Redding track — reached No. 1 on both the R&B and pop charts. Thanks to the success of these hits Aretha  won her first two Grammy Awards.

She also had Top 10 hits with “Baby I Love You,” “Think,” “Chain of Fools,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Aretha Franklin Dubbed the ‘Queen of Soul’

Franklin became a chart queen as she constantly dominated the charts, this would earn her the prestigious Queen of Soul title and at the same time a symbol of black empowerment during the Civil Rights Movement.

1968 saw Franklin get enlisted as one of the artist to perform at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She performed a soul touching  rendition of “Precious Lord.”, her tribute to her father’s friend . Following her performance at   Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s burial, she was nominated again to perform  at the national anthem to begin the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

By mid 1969, Frankli’s popularity and success took a toll on her marriage, leading to a divorce with long time husband  White. Undeterred Franklin  churned out more hits including  “Don’t Play That Song,” “Spanish Harlem” and her cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

Aretha Franklin’s  ‘Amazing Grace’

Influenced by  Mahalia Jackson’s passing and a subsequent resurgence of interest in gospel music, the gifted singer returned to her musical origins for the 1972 album Amazing Grace. The album was a tremendous success, sellng over 2 million copies, becoming  the best-selling gospel album at the time.

Her reign continued throughout the 1970s, as she sought newer ties with producers such as Curtis Mayfield and Quincy Jones and expanded her repertoire to include rock and pop covers. Along the way, she took home eight consecutive Grammy Awards for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance, the last coming for her 1974 single “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.”

Aretha Franklin’s Career Struggles

But by 1975, Franklin’s sound was fading into the background with the onset of the disco craze, and an emerging set of young black singers, such as Chaka Khan and Donna Summer, began to eclipse Franklin’s career.

Franklin’s career took a downturn by mid 1975, with the upsurge of the disco craze,  and an emerging set of young black singers, such as Chaka Khan and Donna Summer, began to eclipse Franklin’s career.

She did however find her rhythm from sales with the 1976 soundtrack to the Warner Brothers film Sparkle. Sparkle was a huge success and the track went on to make top 20 in  top the R&B charts and made the Top 20 in pop .

Following the success of Sparkle, Aretha Franklin got an invitation to perform at the 1977 presidential inauguration of Jimmy Carter. In 1978 she also married actor Glynn Turman.

By 1979 Franklin’s chart topping magic was on a decline, this led to the end of her long term relationship with Atlantic. The same year,Franklin’s father  was hospitalized after a burglary attempt in his house  left him in a state coma. As her popularity declined  and her father’s health condition  declined, Franklin was also saddled with a massive bill from the IRS.

1980 film The Blues Brothers came to Franklin’s rescue, as she featured in the movie. Performing “Think” alongside comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd exposed her to a new generation of R&B lovers, and she soon signed to Arista Records. 

A few years ahead, Franklin again earned a Grammy nomination for the huge success of  “ump To It” an album that topped the R&B  charts .  Two years later, she endured a divorce from Turman as well as the death of her father.

Aretha Franklin’s  Albums & Songs from 1980’s and beyond

‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’

1985 saw Franklin return to the spotlight as she  topped   the charts yet again , with a smash-hit album: the polished pop record Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Featuring the single “Freeway of Love,” as well as a collaboration with the popular rock band The Eurythmics, which went on to become  Aretha’s biggest-selling album till date. 

Aretha Franklin’s  ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’

Her follow-up, 1986’s Aretha, also charted well and eventually went gold, and her duet with British singer George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” hit No. 1 on the pop charts.

1987 saw Aretha Franklin’s become the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. University of Detroit didn’t want to be left out as they confounded  the gifted singer  an honorary doctorate. That same year, she released the album One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, which won the Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance.

Following another relatively quiet period in her career, in 1993, Franklin was invited to sing at the inauguration of Bill Clinton, and the following year she received both a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Kennedy Center Honors. She would also be the focus of multiple documentaries and tributes as the decade progressed.

‘A Rose Is Still a Rose’

Nearing its conclusion, Franklin reprised her former role in Blues Brothers 2000, released the gold-selling “A Rose Is Still a Rose” and stood in for Luciano Pavarotti, who was too ill to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award, with her rendition of “Nessun Dorma” commanding stellar reviews.

‘So Damn Happy’

In 2003 the gifted singer released her final studio album on Arista,  titled “So Damn Happy“, and left to start her own label  Aretha Records. Aretha Franklin’s success knew no bounds as she was again awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and became the second woman ever to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

In 2008 Aretha Franklin received her 18th Grammy Award for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” — a collaboration with Mary J. Blige — and was tapped to sing at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.Aretha Franklin 18 Grammy awards easily places her as one  one of the most honored artists in Grammy history, ranked among the likes of Alison Krauss, Adele and Beyoncé Knowles. In 2011 Franklin released her first album on her own label, A Woman Falling Out of Love.

To support the project, she would performed several concerts, including a two-night stint at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York. With her fans and critics alike, tremendously  impressed with  Aretha Franklin’s performances, she successfully proved that the Queen of Soul still reigned supreme.

‘Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics’

In 2014 Franklin underscored that point with Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which reached No. 13 on the pop charts and No. 3 R&B.

In February 2017, the 74-year-old Queen of Soul told Detroit radio station WDIV Local 4 that she was collaborating with Stevie Wonder to release a new album.

“I must tell you, I am retiring this year,” she said in the interview, adding: “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now. I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”

In January 2018, it was announced that Franklin had hand-picked singer and actress Jennifer Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic.

Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits

  • Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (1967)
  • Don’t Play That Song (1970)
  • Chain of Fools (1967)
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (1967)
  • Ain’t No Way (1968)
  • I Say a Little Prayer (1968)
  • Dr Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business) (1967)
  • Think (1968)
  • Respect (1967)
  • I Never Loved a Man (The Way I loved You) (1967)


Aretha Franklin Net Worth

Aretha Franklin’s  net worth is estimated around $200 million dollars, this include album sales and royalties from movies she featured in.


On August 12, 2018, it was reported that a “gravely ill” Franklin was bedridden in her Detroit home, surrounded by family and friends. As news of her condition spread, more luminaries paid a visit to express their well wishes, including Stevie Wonder and Jesse Jackson.

Four days later, on the morning of August 16th, Franklin succumbed to her illness, which her family revealed to be pancreatic cancer.


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