Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, and one of the most influential and legendary musicians of the past 50 years, has died overnight, aged 76.
Franklin was the daughter of a Baptist minister, and found the perfect blend of blues, black church music and jazz to create a new and contemporary sound. She earned 18 Grammy Awards and had more than 20 number one hits during her long career.
She’s been remembered by current and former presidents, international stars and others, for her iconic voice and the new sound she brought to pop music.
Barack and Michelle Obama released a statement saying: “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it, and in every shade-our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.
“She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”
Franklin had a difficult childhood, having her first child at 12. She once told Ebony: “It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”
If you haven’t already got some of her greatest hits like Respect and A Natural Woman in your head, you soon will. Spend at least part of your morning watching the following clips and remembering an icon.