Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76. The musical and cultural icon’s career spanned six decades.
Aretha Louise Franklin grew up with music and frequently performed gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. She recorded her debut album at 14 and moved to New York in 1960 to pursue a career in jazz.
A recording session in 1967 led to a huge amount of hits by Franklin, including “Chain of Fools,” “Think,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Her empowering rendition of Otis Redding’s song “Respect” quickly became successful and remains a feminist anthem to this day. The song earned Aretha the first two Grammy wins of her career.
1968, she performed “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom she toured with she was 16 as a member of his choir. She spent the rest of the ‘70s getting even groovier and racking up Grammy awards.
She performed at three presidential inaugurations including Jimmy Carter’s, Bill Clinton’s, and Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. She also performed at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, moving Obama to tears.
Franklin passed away in her hometown of Detroit on Thursday.