b. Aretha Louise Franklin, 25th March 1942, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Aretha Franklin's roots are purely gospel based.
Her father, C.L. Franklin, was a Baptist preacher who had become famous in his own right through his own preachings.
Aretha's father knew some of the major gospel stars, of the day in Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward.
These singers helped Aretha's vocal learnings at an early age.
Aretha was 12 years old when she was promoted within the choir to become a featured solo vocalist.
Two years later she commenced her first recordings for JVB and Checker.
Between 1956 and 1960, Aretha's releases purely concentrated on the Gospel side of her output.
Aretha auditioned for John Hammond, who signed her to Columbia.
Columbia concentrated, initially on a secular side of her vocalisings and these included 'Running Out Of Fools', in 1964, and 'Cry Like A Baby', in 1966.
Aretha relocated to Atlantic Records, after a series of twelve albums at Columbia, in 1966, where she realised her potential, releasing 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)', recorded in January 1967 in New York.
The album was scheduled to be made in Muscle Shoals, but Franklin's husband Ted White had an argument with the owner of Fame Studios, Rick Hall.
At short notice Jerry Wexler flew the musicians to New York.
The single went into the US Top 10 and, coupled with 'Do Right Woman - Do Right Man', only the backing track of which was recorded in Alabama.
The Atlantic period set the foundations of the career that would see Aretha becoming the undisputable 'Queen Of Soul'.
'Respect', 'Baby I Love You', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'Chain Of Fools' and '(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone' were fine examples of her portfolio.
At this time her relationship with husband and manager White waned, however, she still released R & B classics such as 'Think'.
She followed 'Think' with a cover version of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's 'I Say A Little Prayer'.
Despit a slight decline in her successes, she had a renaissance in 1970 with 'Call Me', 'Spirit In The Dark' and 'Don't Play That Song' and 'Aretha Live At Fillmore West' (1971).
The following year, another live appearance resulted in 'Amazing Grace', a double gospel set recorded with James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir.
Aretha went from strength to strength during the early 1970's and enjoyed three R & B chart-toppers, 'Angel', 'Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)' and 'I'm In Love'.
Her mid seventies career saw production input from the likes of Curtis Mayfield.
Aretha's cameo role in the film 'The Blues Brothers' enhanced her career during the late Seventies.
She moved to Arista Records in 1980 and released 'United Together' and two albums, 'Aretha' and 'Love All The Hurt Away'.
'Jump To It' and 'Get It Right', both written and produced by Luther Vandross, and 'Who's Zoomin' Who', reaffirmed her quality.
From the album, produced by Narada Michael Walden, Aretha had hit singles with 'Freeway Of Love', 'Another Night' and the title track.
In the mid-80's, she hit the charts again, in the company of Annie Lennox ('Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves') and George Michael ('I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)'), which went to number 1 in the U.S.A. and the U.K. in 1987.
Aretha's 'Through The Storm' set, from 1989, contained duets, this time with Elton John on the title track, James Brown ('Gimme Some Lovin'), and Whitney Houston ('It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be').
The album also included a remake of her 1968 U.S. Top 10 title, 'Think'.
In 1991, her 'What You See Is What You Sweat' saw a couple of tracks by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager; a collaboration with Luther Vandross and a cover version of 'Everyday People' originally written and recorded by Sly Stone and produced by Narada Michael Walden.
'One Lord One Faith One Baptism' was released in 1987 and showed a return to her gospel roots.
Aretha Franklin is rightfully heralded as the 'Queen of Soul', even though that reputation was gained in the 60's.
The 4-CD box set 'Queen Of Soul', highlighting the best of her Atlantic recordings, confirmed her position as one of the greatest voices in recording history.
One famous quote of Aretha's is, 'Trying to grow up is hurting, you know. You make mistakes. You try to learn from them, and when you don't, it hurts even more'.
Aretha (Columbia 1961)
The Electrifying Aretha Franklin (Columbia 1962)
The Tender The Moving, The Swinging Aretha Franklin (Columbia 1962)
Laughing On The Outside (Columbia 1963)
Unforgettable (Columbia 1964)
Songs Of Faith (Checker 1964)
Running Out Of Fools (Columbia 1964)
Yeah!!! (Columbia 1965)
Queen Of Soul (1965)
Once In A Lifetime (1965)
Soul Sister (Columbia 1966)
Take It Like You Give It (Columbia 1967)
I Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You (Atlantic 1967)
Aretha Arrives (Atlantic 1967)
Take A Look early recordings (Columbia 1967)
Aretha: Lady Soul (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha Now (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha In Paris (Atlantic 1968)
Aretha Franklin: Soul '69 (Atlantic 1969)
Today I Sing The Blues (Columbia 1969)
Soft And Beautiful (Columbia 1969)
I Say A Little Prayer (1969)
Aretha Franklin Live (1969)
This Girl's In Love With You (Atlantic 1970)
Spirit In The Dark (Atlantic 1970)
Two Sides Of Love (1970)
Aretha Live At Fillmore West (Atlantic 1971)
Young, Gifted And Black (Atlantic 1972)
Amazing Grace (Atlantic 1972)
Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) (Atlantic 1973)
Let Me Into Your Life (Atlantic 1974)
With Everything I Feel In Me (Atlantic 1974)
You (Atlantic 1975)
Sparkle (Atlantic 1976)
Sweet Passion (Atlantic 1977)
Almighty Fire (Atlantic 1978)
La Diva (Atlantic 1979)
Aretha (Arista 1980)
Love All The Hurt Away (Arista 1981)
Jump To It (Arista 1982)
Get It Right (Arista 1983)
Who's Zoomin' Who? (Arista 1985)
Aretha (Arista 1986)
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism (Arista 1987)
Through The Storm (Arista 1989)
What You See Is What You Sweat (Arista 1991)
So Damn Happy (Arista 2003)