Aretha Franklin’s iconic moments, from ‘Respect’ for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame



Aretha Franklin is seriously ill, surrounded by family

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is reportedly “seriously ill” and surrounded by her family and friends. Reports come after her alleged fight with pancreatic cancer.

With a career spanning almost six decades, Aretha Franklin has proudly earned the title “Queen of Soul.”

The gospel-inspired artist, now 76, soon became an international sensation after the release of her hit song “Respect” in 1967.

Since then, Franklin has been nominated for 44 Grammy awards, winning 18 of them. Franklin’s other well-known classics are “Natural Woman,” “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Chain of Fools.”

Franklin set the stage for modern singers, hit milestones many artists only dream of.


From the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the youngest ever recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors — here’s a look at some of Franklin’s history-making moments that will never be forgotten.

Record deal

Franklin scored her first record deal with Columbia Records in New York City in 1960.

Releases “Respect”

Seven years later, Franklin ditched Columbia Records for Atlantic Records, where she recorded her Grammy Award-winning hit “Respect.” The number fell on Valentine’s day in 1967. It skyrocketed to the top of the charts just four months later, and later became known as a feminist anthem.


“My sister Carolyn and I got together and I lived in a small apartment on the west side of Detroit, piano by the window, watching the cars go by and we came up with that infamous line, “sock it to me’ line,” Franklin told radio host Terry Gross at the time, according to NPR. “Some of the girls said that the boys, such as “sock it to me’ in this way, or “sock it to me’ in that way. It’s not sexual. It was non-sexual, just a cliche line.”

Detroit mayor declares Aretha Franklin Day

Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh special a day to the Queen of Soul (a former resident of Detroit) on Feb. 16, 1968, ahead of Franklin’s performance at the city of Cobb Hall.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

“I do not think that there is someone who I have known who possesses an instrument like hers and who has such a thorough background in gospel, the blues and the essential black-music idiom,” co-founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun said at the time, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, notes on its website. “She is blessed with an extraordinary combination of remarkable urban sophistication and deep blues feeling…The result is perhaps the greatest singer of our time.”

Kennedy Center Honors

In December 1994, at the age of 52, Franklin was the youngest recipient ever of the Kennedy Center Honors.

“You could say that Hillary and I went to law school with Aretha, because there was hardly a day when we don’t listen to any of her songs,” President Bill Clinton said during the ceremony, per Billboard.

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

Franklin received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, some three years after the conversation with the Grammy Legend Award.

Presidential Medal of Freedom

In 2005, George W. Bush presented Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The singer was one of the 14 icons — including the famous boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Carol Burnett and actor Andy Griffith — to receive the award on Nov. 9, 2005.

The inauguration of Obama

Franklin sang “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” at President Barack Obama’s inauguration on 20 January 2009.

The singer told Larry King the moment she couldn’t properly express the feeling that they had to see the first African-American president is sworn in.

“There is a love affair with the country and Barack. I think it’s the age of Barack. People have just fallen head over heels in love with him. His ascent to the presidency was miraculous. But we must not forget that he is not going to work miracles right off the top. It’s going to take time,” she told King on Jan. 22, 2009.

The first female to earn her 100th hit on the Billboard Hot R&B chart

Franklin history with her rendition of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep” in the autumn of 2014, at Number 47 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song gave Franklin her 100th career title on the famous song chart.

“She’s on fire and vocally in absolutely peak form. What a thrill to see this peerless artist still showing the way, still sending shivers up your spine, still demonstrating that all contemporary music needs, is the voice. What a voice,” Clive Davis told Billboard at the time.

Franklin praised Adele’s music style, especially her “21” album.

“It’s what contemporary music needs more of,” Franklin said of Adele ‘ s album, according to Billboard. “I absolutely loved her CD. In addition to a great singer, she is a great writer, a deep, heavy writer. Not that she’s writing from the usual or the norm.”

Longest national anthem ever?

Jaws dropped across the country as Franklin slowly belt of the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings game on Thanksgiving Day in 2016.

Franklin’s performance lasted a surprising 4 minutes and 35 seconds — what many believe to be a record.


According to Fox Sports, Franklin’s achievement was more than twice as long as the national average, which clocks in at 1 minute, and 57 seconds.

Fox News’ Katherine Lamb contributed to this report.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

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