Aretha Franklin has died. The legendary soul singer passed at her home in Detroit, where she was surrounded by friends and family. She was 76. “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world,” the family wrote in their statement. “Thank you for your compassion and prayers.”
Franklin, commonly referred to as the “Queen of Soul,” is one of the genre’s most recognizable and beloved artists. She made her first recording, 1956’s Songs of Faith, when she was only 14, and went on to release 41 additional albums, with the last being 2017’s A Brand New Me. Check out some of Franklin’s best musical moments below.
Franklin’s signature song was also her commercial breakout. This 1967 recording skyrocketed up the Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at number one. “Respect” was also considered a landmark for the feminist movement of the period, and is often considered one of the best songs in R&B history. It went on to earn two Grammy Awards in 1968 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance.
“Respect” was also the leadoff track on 1967’s I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, considered by many to be Franklin’s best album. It was ranked 83rd on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and number nine on Pitchfork’s 200 Best Albums of the 1960s.
‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’
Franklin’s second massive single from 1967 was the ballad “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” It peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to become a staple of Franklin’s live shows. The single also proved influential on artists like Rod Stewart, Mary J. Blige and Celine Dion.
‘Chain of Fools’
The searing “Chain of Fools” was originally written for Otis Redding, but Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler felt that Franklin would be able to bring more to the song. Wexler’s instincts proved correct, as Franklin’s rendition peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues. Franklin later covered the song with Mariah Carey for 1998’s VH1 Divas concert.
“Chain of Fools” was the lead single on 1968’s Lady Soul, another one of Franklin’s most acclaimed albums. It was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
‘Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)’
This song was originally written and performed by Stevie Wonder in 1967, but it was withheld from release for a decade, making Franklin’s 1973 rendition the most notable. Her version was another massive hit, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and it made her the first artist in the history of the Hot 100 chart to have a song peak at each position from one to ten on the chart.
While it wasn’t included as a single, the album that Franklin released during this period, 1972’s Amazing Grace, is considered to be another masterpiece. The album was eventually certified double platinum.
‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’
Franklin scored a huge crossover hit with 1987’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, a first for George Michael as a solo artist, and became Franklin’s highest-charting song on the Adult Contemporary charts, where it peaked at number two.
‘A Rose Is Still a Rose’
Franklin’s last sizable hit was the 1998 single “A Rose Is Still a Rose.” Written by Lauryn Hill, the single peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Franklin’s album of the same name would go on to be certified gold.