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Affectionately known as “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is a music industry icon.

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Franklin, like most young girls of the time, began singing in the church. Landing her first record deal, as a gospel artist, at the tender age of 14. After achieving mild success, at the age of 18 Franklin decided to leave her gospel roots and began singing secular music.

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Commercial success would soon follow. Franklin dominated the 1960s churning out hits like “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” (1967), “Respect” (1967), “Chain of Fools” (1967), “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968), and “Think” (1968).

“The Queen of Soul” would go on to record over 100 chart-topping singles on Billboard, win a total of 18 Grammy Awards, and sell over 75 million records around the world.

In 1987 Franklin became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


“I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”

“Chain of Fools”


“Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”

“Something He Can Feel”

“Freeway of Love”


Black Music Month: Aretha Franklin  was originally published on

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