Jake’s Take Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin (1942 to 2018)

(Photo property of Ryan Arrowsmith | Wikimedia Commons)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com  

It was great sadness that I have to report the death of one of the world’s greatest voices, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Countless media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and USA Today reported that the Queen of Soul passed away at 76-years-old.  Recently, People indicated that the “Respect” singer battled unknown health ailments throughout this decade.

Aretha’s Early Life

Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents, C.L. and Barbara Siggers Franklin, moved the future “Think” singer and her two sisters, Erma and Carolyn, to Detroit, where her father served as the New Bethel Baptist Church’s pastor.  Her father’s fiery sermons became known throughout the country, and Aretha soon found herself surrounded by legendary figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sam Cooke, Mahalia Jackson, and Jackie Wilson, who visited her home.

After the death of her mother, Aretha began singing hymns at the New Bethel Baptist Church. However, Sam Cooke inspired her to pursue a music career in the pop music industry.  In 1960, Columbia Records decided to sign Ms. Franklin to her first record deal.  While she found minor success, it was not until the “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman)” singer left Columbia and signed with Atlantic Records in 1967 that she found herself triumphant in the recording industry.


Aretha Franklin recorded “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” with Tony Bennett in 2011. (Photo property of Sony Music Corporation)

Classics & Collaborations

Throughout the mid-1960s and up to the end of the 1970s, Aretha Franklin recorded songs that became synonymous with her artistry. Both the fan base and critics ate up “Chain of Fools,” “Ain’t No Way,” “Until You Come Back to Me,” “Spanish Harlem,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Rock Steady.”  In 1980, the Queen of Soul left Atlantic Records and signed with Clive Davis at Arista Records.

Davis and Franklin’s partnership lead to memorable singles such as “Jump to It,” “Freeway of Love,” “Jimmy Lee,” and “Another Night.” Throughout the 1980s to the early 2010s,  Aretha Franklin collaborated with a plethora of recording artists. Among the artists that had the honor of collaborating with the Queen of Soul included Sir Elton John (“Through the Storm”), Eurythmics (“Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”), John Legend (“What Y’All Came to Do”),  Mariah Carey (“Chain of Fools”), and Tony Bennett (“How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”). Franklin also recorded with the late Frank Sinatra (“What Now My Love?”), George Michael (“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”), Luther Vandross (“Doctor’s Orders”), and Whitney Houston (“It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be”).


Aretha Franklin delivered a fiery performance at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. (Photo property of CBS)

Awards & Honors

Throughout her life, Aretha Franklin accumulated a vast collection of awards. She collected three American Music Awards, three NAACP Image Awards, and 18 Grammy Awards. Also, the Recording Academy also honored the Queen of Soul with three distinctive non-competitive Grammy Awards including being named the 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.

Ms. Franklin also received some of the United States of America’s most prestigious honors including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981, being the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.  In 1994, she was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to the performing arts.  She also participated at several Honors ceremonies including Lionel Hampton (1992), Smokey Robinson (2006), and Carole King (2015).

Aretha Franklin was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters. She is survived by her four children: Kecalf Cunningham, Theodore “Teddy” White, Edward, and Clarence. Ms. Franklin leaves behind an impeccable legacy and countless adoring fans from around the world.

Jake’s Take is sending its thoughts, prayers, and light to Ms. Franklin’s family, friends, and fans as they mourn this outstanding music icon.

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar