There is so much I could say about this legendary woman.. I grew up on her music. “Spanish Harlem”, “Chain of Fools”, “Ain’t No Way”, “Amazing Grace”, “Holy Holy”, “Respect”, “I’ve Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You”, and “Dr. Feelgood”, which is the song that made me want to be a singer. Yes, Whitney Houston was The Voice. But Aretha is THE VOICE, having had her instrument declared a National Treasure in 1985 by Governor Blanchard. Aretha Franklin has won 18 Grammy Awards for her performances, holding the record for most Best Female R&B Vocal, a total of 11. The first 8 ever awarded on that show from 1968-1975 belong to her. She also holds 2 honorary Grammys, the NAACP Vanguard Award in 2008, and the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She has worked with everyone from Annie Lenox to Luther Vandross, to Mary J. Blige.
Aretha Louise Franklin turned 70 today. And she is iconic. Period. There are a lot of artists we want to baptize with the Queen of their genres, but this woman is the Undisputed Queen of Soul. Her discography, awards, accolades, acknowledgments, and tributes are so vast that it would take a book to list them all. And not only in Soul, her Gospel offerings are still some of the best selling today, with her version of “Amazing Grace” being one of the first gospel songs to cross over into the R&B sector, and SHE was selected to perform “Nessun Dorma” in place of Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammys, which places her as the only R&B artist to have performed in EVERY major genre of music. Here are a few of them.
- June 28, 1968 – Was the second African-American woman to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
- Has charted singles in each of the top 10 positions on the Billboard Hot 100 list.
- January 20, 1987 – she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- September 1999 – she was awarded The National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
- 2004 – she was ranked #9 on the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time [Rolling Stone]
- 2005 – Awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush, was the second woman to be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, and was also inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
- May 13, 2006 – Presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music, America’s most distinguished Arts Education institution.
- May 14, 2007 – Presented with an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
- 2007 – Aretha Franklin’s recording of “Respect” was voted a Legendary Michigan Song.
- September 13, 2008 – Franklin was ranked No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists list by Billboard.
- November, 2008 – Franklin was named by Rolling Stone as the No. 1 all-time best singer of the rock era
- January 20, 2009 – Performed during the inauguration of President Barack Obama
- May 23, 2010 – Received and Honorary Doctorate in Music from Yale University
- June 1, 2010 – Her recording of “Chain Of Fools” was voted a Legendary Michigan Song
And as I said, these are just a few of her accomplishments.
On April 21, 2012 at The State Theater, Tri-C Jazzfest will present Aretha Franklin in concert. I am telling you, if you have never heard her, you need to make this a priority. With so many of our great voices silenced, we are blessed to still have one of the Best here to enjoy. Whether you are a long time fan or newly introduced to her, you will NOT be disappointed. Happy Birthday ReRe!
The Jazzfest this year is going to be incredible! I can hardly wait! Do you have your tickets? Go to http://www.tricpresents.com for information on shows, classes, special events and more. We live in a city that is rich in music history, and Tri-C [Cuyahoga Community College] has been a major contributor in keeping it filled with music and it’s appreciation thru the Jazzfest which is now in it’s 33rd year.
Only 25 days left…. let’s get Jazzed!
In Rhythm and Rhyme
Tri-C Jazzfest 2012