Empowerment anthems like her iconic 1967 smash hit Respect – still as relevant, if not more so, as it was five decades ago – and her unforgettable way of merging soul with a rock edge has influenced scores of female artists around the world.
News of the 76-year-old’s ill health has sent shockwaves through the international music industry with tributes from all corners streaming in for the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s been reported that Franklin is currently at her Detroit home receiving hospice care, but is said to be “gravely ill” and reportedly battling cancer.
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Franklin, who last year announced her intention to retire in 2019, cancelled a string of concerts in March this year due to her ill health and last performed live at an Elton John Aids Foundation gala event in November last year.
Queen Bey, who has previously named Franklin as one of her many musical influences, and hubby Jay-Z on Monday dedicated their On the Run Tour concert in Detroit to the music icon, with Beyoncé thanking Franklin “for the beautiful music”.
In her cover feature for the September issue of Vogue, Beyoncé also paid tribute to Franklin.
“Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents,” she said.
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Chaka Khan said as a young singer, her vocals were patterned after Franklin’s.
Have you heard her do Moody’s Moody for Love? Oh! My! God! Double time. Three-part harmony. It’s undoable. But she did it,” she said in an interview with cleavland.com.
“When I was in talent shows, the vocalist I patterned myself after was Aretha. I first met her backstage in Los Angeles in the 1970s, when Rufus had our first hit. Before I entered the room, I heard her yell: ‘Is that that girl my kids won’t take off their damn beat boxes?’ That was funny! She’s totally honest. I’m the same way. People are afraid to tell us the f**king truth – excuse my French – it’s a hard thing to come by. People try to call me the queen of this or the queen of that. Don’t get it twisted. There’s only one reigning queen, and her name is Aretha Franklin. I’m just a lady-in-waiting.”