Aretha Franklin, also known as the ‘Queen of Soul, died on August 16 2018 (age 76) after a year-long battle with cancer. With 41 studio albums, 18 Grammy awards and 112(!) charted Billboard singles, she was one of the greatest American soul artists. To honour her legacy, we made a list of her most memorable live perfomances.
#10. Precious Lord @ Washington D.C, 2011
Franklin (aged 16 at that time) sang at the funeral of activist Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. In 2011, she was asked once again to sing ‘Precious Lord’ at the reveal ceremony of the new Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington D.C. And only a true Queen can drop her purse, sing her face off behind the President’s podium, pick up her purse and leave the stage.
#9. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone @ Amsterdam, 1968
‘(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone’ was featured on her hit album Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul. Between 1960 and 1980, the Queen of Soul recorded a whopping 28 studio albums.
#8. You Send Me @ Baltimore, 1994
The soul singer often covered other artists’ hit songs. In this video she’s singing her version of Sam Cooke‘s ‘You Send Me’.
#7. Oh, Happy Days @ New York,1987
Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25 1942. Not long after her birth, her family moved to Detroit, Illinois. Franklin’s singing career started as a member of the gospel choir in the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. Her father was a minister in that church.
#6. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman @ The Kennedy Center, 2015
When Carole King received her Kennedy Honors in 2015, Aretha Franklin performed King’s and her hit song ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’. The Queen of Soul brought former US president Barack Obama to tears. Franklin also sang at Obama’s first inauguration, in 2009.
#5. Respect @ The Midnight Special, 1976
‘Respect’ is probably her biggest and most well-known song. The song, originally written and recorded by Otis Redding, became the anthem of both the civil rights and feminist movement. Beside her singing career and her role as an activist, Franklin also played in several movies: she played a waitress in both ‘The Blues Brothers‘ movies.
#4. Call Me @ This is Tom Jones, 1970
Between 1969 and 1971 British singer Tom Jones had his on TV show on American television. In 1970 Aretha Franklin was the guest of honour, alongside Bob Hope and delivers this suberb live performance of ‘Call Me’.
#3. Eleanor Rigby @ Fillmore West, 1971
Nobody could sing Beatles’ song as Aretha Franklin. She recorded several Beatles classics, giving it her own twist and totally owning it. When Paul McCartney wrote and recorded ‘Let It Be’, he sent a demo to Franklin to see if she would like to record her own version. And ooooh, she did!
#2. I Say A Little Prayer For You @ This is Tom Jones, 1970
‘I Say A Little Prayer For You’ was written by Burt Bacharach and was recorder by soul singer Dionne Warwick in 1967. When Aretha Franklin was recording a new album in 1968, she was singing the song for fun with The Sweet Inspirations. It soon came apparent that Franklin’s adpation of the song held great potential. ‘I Say A Little Prayer For You’ was featured on ‘Aretha Now’ and became her ninth Billboard top ten single.
#1. Groovin’ @ Sweden, 1968
Franklin could make any song her own, even rock songs. The American soul diva covered ‘Groovin’ from the American rock band Young Rascals, in 1968 and turned it into a beautiful, soulful ballad.