Sadly, ARETHA FRANKLIN passed away yesterday, and that means the ‘Queen of Soul’ left us on the same day as the ‘King of Rock and Roll.’ ELVIS died 41 years ago yesterday, on August 16th of 1977. He was only 42. Aretha was 76. Her publicist says she died of advanced pancreatic cancer. Aretha was a little cagey about the disease over the years, but she had surgery to remove a tumor in 2010. All Aretha would say is that her doctor told her the procedure was necessary, and that it could add 10 to 15 years to her life. Eight years isn’t bad . . . even if the last couple were a struggle. She was healthy enough to perform up until late last year. She’d been under hospice care since earlier this week, surrounded by friends and family. She had a lot of guests over the past few days . . . including Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson, and her ex-husband Glynn Turman. Aretha recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries . . . the most for any female artist in history. She won 18 Grammys, including the first EIGHT awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, from 1968 through 1975. And she’s one of the best-selling artists of all time, with over 75 million records sold worldwide. Aretha was the FIRST woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was inducted in 1987. “Rolling Stone” has her listed among the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, at #9 . . . and she’s #1 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. As you’re probably well aware, she has a TON of monster, recognizable hits, including “Respect“, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman“, “Think“, “Chain of Fools“, “Spanish Harlem“, “Rock Steady“, “Jump to It“, “Freeway of Love“, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?“, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)“, “Something He Can Feel“ . . . And her collaborations included “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)“ with George Michael, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves“ with the Eurythmics, and her remake of The Rolling Stones song “Jumpin’ Jack Flash“.
Her family released this statement: Quote, “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.” (Pay “Respect” to Aretha by listening to her original 1967 version, here. Here she is performing for the Obamas at the Kennedy Center Honors. And here she is doing a fast-paced version of “Think” in “The Blues Brothers“.)