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There’s a reason why Aretha Franklin is known as the Queen of Soul. The singer, best known for her renditions of “Respect” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman,” could belt out a tune like no other. Franklin’s voice is as magical as it is powerful, and her talent is unmatched.
Unfortunately, the world got some sad news this week when it learned that Franklin died at the age of 76 after suffering from an undisclosed illness. Franklin had reportedly been under hospice care this week, with friends and family members visiting her to say goodbye.
Franklin was a force in the music industry and helped open so many doors for women who have followed her. The 76-year-old singer had an illustrious career, with many firsts under her belt. Here are some facts you may not know about the incredible Queen of Soul.
1. She Has More Than A Dozen Honorary Degrees
Franklin reportedly has received more than 12 honorary degrees from prestigious universities throughout her life. Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Berklee College of Music and Yale University are among the institutions that have honored her with Doctorates of Music and Arts.
2. She Has Performed At 3 Presidential Inaugurations
Franklin graced the stage at the inaugurations for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. She sang “God Bless America'” at Carter’s inauguration gala in 1977, “I Dreamed a Dream” (from the Broadway show “Les Miserables”) at Clinton’s inauguration ball in 1993, and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at Obama’s inauguration in 2009.
3. She Has Been Inducted Into Several Halls Of Fame
Take a stroll on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and you will see a star dedicated to the Queen of Soul. But that’s not the only place to mark her fame in the music industry. Franklin has also received NAACP Vanguard Award and was inducted into the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame. She was also the first-ever woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
4. She’s A Published Author
The Queen of Soul is notoriously private about her personal life. But Franklin let her millions of fans into her innermost world in 1999 when she published her autobiography, “Aretha: From These Roots.” For her book, Franklin collaborated with writer David Ritz, who would later go on to pen an unauthorized biography about the musical icon. However, Ritz’s 2014 book “Respect: The Life Of Aretha Franklin” was not well-received by Franklin, who called it “a very trashy book … full of lies.”
5. She Has More Awards Than You Can Count
Franklin is one of the most decorated artists in music history. She has won 18 Grammy Awards (and received 44 nominations!), three American Music Awards and three NAACP Image Awards. The 76-year-old singer had also been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award, a Golden Globe and two MTV Video Music Awards.
But that’s not all: Franklin has also been honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, received a National Medal of Arts and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 from President George W. Bush.
Franklin is an amazing, groundbreaking, trailblazing artist, and her mastery as a singer could never be matched!