'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin dies at age of 76

Posed portrait of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin poses for

Fox News honored the life of Aretha Franklin with an image of Patti LaBelle.

Raised on gospel, bathed in rhythm and blues and fluent in jazz and pop, Aretha Franklin came to be known as the "Queen of Soul" through seven decades of electrifying performances. ("I liked him a lot", she confided.) "I wanna be what he wants when he wants it/And whenever he needs it", she sings with a sprightly, lilting delivery, nudging the "wants" with a syncopated subtlety recalling one of her clear progenitors, Ella Fitzgerald. "There's a reason why she's queen".

The music legend began her career as a child, singing gospel at a church in her home state of MI.

Franklin also inspired a generation of singers.

She released an album of duets with Houston, Carey and Blige in 2007 and covered Adele, Barbara Streisand and Sinead O'Connor tunes for the 2014 album "Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics".

"And my mom bought this album back in '71 and now I have it", Carpenter said, holding a copy of Franklin's 'Amazing Grace, ' which was recorded live in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Bill and Hillary Clinton pay tribute to Aretha Franklin
From her earliest recording sessions at Columbia, when she asked to sing "Over the Rainbow", she defied category. Personally, the star struggled with her weight throughout most of her life and had been a longtime smoker.

"She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us for ever".

Franklin was born in 1942, the middle daughter of Barbara and C.L. Franklin. She sang at Dr. King's funeral.

As gospel historian Anthony Heilbut wrote: "Within black America, Reverend Franklin was royalty".

"He provided the vehicle to allow me to perform and express myself", Franklin told The Wall Street Journal following Wexler's death in 2008. By 1966, she left Columbia and signed with Atlantic Records, with whom she eventually recorded one of her biggest hits - her cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." Those early recordings were overseen by John Hammond, who was also credited with furthering the careers of Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman and Bob Dylan, among others. "The 18-time Grammy victor, known for hits like "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman", and "Chain of Fools", left behind an imcomparable career that spanned seven decades. In her most memorable addition, Franklin spelled out her demand for parity for emphasis in the bridge: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T/ Find out what it means to me /R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Take care, TCB [take of business]". Three more sons-Edward Franklin, Ted White, Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham-followed. She later married actor Glynn Russel Turman again in 1878, but the marriage lasted till 1969.

Afraid of flying and suffering several bouts of ill-health, her touring was restricted in recent years, but her power as a performer was hardly diminished. She won a Golden Globe award for "Never gonna break my faith".

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