Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76 years old, and had been battling pancreatic cancer.
Her 60-plus-years in the music business were marked by her many milestones. She held the record for the most-charted female artist in Billboard history for nearly 40 years, with 73 songs in the Hot 100. (Nicki Minaj surpassed the record last year.) She stormed onto a burgeoning music scene in 1961, recording “Won’t Be Long” when she was just 18.
Her soaring, powerhouse style earned her the respect of peers and the industry nickname “The Queen of Soul.” She earned 18 Grammy Awards over the course of her career, and was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
It is impossible to hear this news without thinking of one of the several songs she came to be known for over the course of a storied career, but this one performance seemed to come closest to capturing her essence as a performer as she paid tribute to singer-songwriter Carole King – co-writer of a song Franklin made famous.