Aretha Franklin

Icons of the Century

She’s been name-checked by Steely Dan and is revered by millions of fans as the Queen of Soul.

Aretha Franklin’s ascension to the throne was practically pre-ordained.

She grew up singing in her father’s Baptist church, and in her mid-20s began recording with Southern R&B musicians who added a gritty sheen to her ‘Sho-Nuff’ vocals and pulpit-style piano.

The result was an electrifying run of late ’60s classics — “Respect,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Chain of Fools,” “Do Right Woman,” “Think” and “Natural Woman,” among others — which left a lasting legacy and served as a soundtrack to the Civil Rights era.

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