Remembering Aretha Franklin: 14 Facts About The Queen Of Soul

posted by James Dinh - 

Fifty years ago in Detroit, Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh announced that February 16 would forever be known as Aretha Franklin Day to The Motor City, you know, the one day of the year devoted to the Queen of Soul and her everlasting legacy. Now, August 16 will forever be known as the day we lost the music icon, as per the recent news of her passing, which flooded the blogosphere on Monday.

Aretha passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer on August 16th in Detroit, surrounded by family and those close to her.

Remember all things Ms. Franklin, by taking a closer look at the music legend. We know the classic songs. We recognize her voice. Now, scroll on below to learn just a few things you might not have known or forgotten about the music superstar.

1.) Singing was a lifetime affair for Aretha Franklin. She was just 12-year-old when she made her debut performance at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. As for her song choice, Franklin chose "Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me."

2.) In case you didn't know, "Respect" is a cover of an Otis Redding song. Little did she know in 1967 that the track would go on to become her signature hit and an anthem for the feminist movement.

3.) Aretha was a pioneer for female artists. Just take a look at her credentials. She was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Back in 1987, she was inducted by Keith Richards.

4.) Believe it or not, Aretha was a high school dropout. Even though she attended Juilliard, the living legend actually dropped out of high school. Nonetheless, she had two honorary doctorates of music from Berklee College of Music and from Yale University.

5.) No one should have expected to find Aretha in first class on anyt flights as she had a major fear of flying. After an in-flight turbulence incident in 1982, the singer stopped flying. "I've been to California from Detroit four times this year and Florida. I go wherever I choose to go comfortably on my custom bus," she previously revealed

6.) Franklin saw her share of United States Presidents. She performed at the inaugurations of three United States presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. 

7.) Long before her career in music, Aretha became a young mother at the tender age of 15. She gave birth to her first child, Clarence, who was named after her father, on January 28, 1955.

8.) Aretha was a self-taught pianist, who learned without knowing how to read music.

9.) When it came to accolades, the singer was stacked. She had 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. Fun fact: 10 of those wins were for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

10.) In addition to those wins for Best R&B Vocal Performance, she also scored the Grammy Legend Award in 1991.

11.) She also had an autobiography under her belt called "Aretha: From These Roots," which was released in 1999. Even though she was quite the private celebrity, this marked the first time that she let her fans into her private life.

12.) Franklin was an overall businesswoman, particularly after she started her own record label, Aretha's Records, in 2004.

13.) She once appeared in a Snickers commercial alongside Liza Minnellli in 2010.

14.) Even in 2014, Franklin was making history, particularly after she became the first female to earn her 100th hit on Billboard's Hot R&B song chart with "Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version)."

Remember the Queen of Soul and her legacy by listening to iHeartRadio's tribute on the Classic Soul station:

Photo: Getty Images

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