Aretha Franklin

Following a "mysterious surgery" in January, rumored to be for pancreatic cancer, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has resumed touring. It's been 50 years since the precocious 18-year-old gospel singer recorded her first single for Columbia Records. Since that time, she has racked up 20 Grammy awards and had 50 singles make the charts, with no less than 20 of them making it to No. 1. Rolling Stone even named her the greatest singer of the rock era. She has also led a life of tragedy that includes her minister father being shot during a robbery and her son being beaten by three men in Detroit. She's had to live through embarrassing headlines about tax evasion while at the same time being honored by the Kennedy Center and performing at the inaugurations of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Through thick and thin, Franklin has remained a much-beloved public figure and an icon for an era. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.


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