Aretha Louise Franklin was born in 1942. She was a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, and civil rights activist. Her career started very early in her childhood in Detroit, Michigan where her father was a minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular-music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While Franklin's career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)", "Respect", "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Chain of Fools", "Think", and "I Say a Little Prayer" propelled her past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as the "Queen of Soul".
Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles.She won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (1968–1975).
Aretha Franklin is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide.Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number one on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and number nine on its list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2019 awarded Franklin a posthumous special citation "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades". In 2020, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will.