TIMELINE: The life of the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin

ByCNN Wire
Monday, August 13, 2018
WATCH Aretha Franklin's last Performance in Philadelphia
EMBED <>More Videos

After Aretha Franklin's performance at the Mann Music Center on August 26, 2017, she would only appear in one more full concert.

Here's a look at the life of the "Queen of Soul," Aretha Franklin.


Birth date: March 25, 1942

Birth place: Memphis, Tennessee

Birth name: Aretha Louise Franklin

Father: Rev. C. L. (Clarence La Vaughn), minister and gospel singer

Mother: Barbara (Siggers) Franklin, gospel singer

Marriages: Glynn Turman (April 11, 1978-1984, divorced), Ted White (1961-1969, divorced)

Children: with Ken Cunningham: Kecalf; with Ted White: Theodore; father's name is not publicly known: Edward and Clarence

Education: Studied classical piano at Julliard School of Music, 1998

Other Facts:

Has a four-octave vocal range.

Is a self-taught pianist, who learned without knowing how to read music.

Is extremely private, she rarely discusses her personal life or her father's death.

Her father was shot by burglars in 1979 and remained in a coma until his death in 1984. Rev. Jesse Jackson presided over his funeral.

Claims reports of her mother abandoning the family in 1948 are "an absolute lie." The Franklins separated and the children lived with Rev. Franklin, spending summers with their mother until Mrs. Franklin died in 1952.

Due to an in-flight turbulence incident in 1982, she has an extreme fear of flying.

Has performed at the inaugurations of three presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Has 44 Grammy nominations and 18 wins. Ten of those wins are for Best R&B Vocal Performance.

A high school dropout, she has two honorary doctorates of music, from Berklee College of Music and Yale University.

In addition to receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame.


1954 - Sings her first solo at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

1956 - Along with her two sisters, performs backup on her father's gospel recording for Gotham Records.

1960 - Leaves Detroit for New York, signs with Columbia Records and releases first album, "The Great Aretha Franklin."

1967 - Leaves Columbia Records after an unsuccessful attempt at developing a jazz style; signs with Atlantic Records; wins Grammy Award Best R&B Recording for "Respect."

1967-1974 - Wins a total of ten Grammy Awards.

April 9, 1968 - Sings "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 20, 1977 - Performs "God Bless America" at the inauguration gala of President Jimmy Carter.

1980 - Appears in the movie "The Blues Brothers" and performs the song "Think"; leaves Atlantic Records for Arista Records.

1981 - Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Hold On I'm Comin'."

1985 - Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Freeway Of Love."

January 3, 1987 - Is the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1987 - Wins two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for "Aretha" and Best R&B Performance by a Duo, with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."

1988 - Wins Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female for "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism."

1991 - Receives the Grammy Legend Award.

January 20, 1993 - Performs "I Dreamed a Dream" at the inauguration ball of President Bill Clinton.

1994 - Receives the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor at that time.

1997 - Performs an aria from Puccini's La Boheme at the wedding of Vice-President Al Gore's daughter, Karenna.

February 6, 1998 - Reprises her roll of Mrs. Murphy from "The Blues Brothers" in the sequel "The Blues Brothers 2000."

February 25, 1998 - Substitutes for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammy Awards performing "Nessun Dorma" by Puccini, unrehearsed.

September 1, 1999 - Publishes an autobiography "Aretha: From These Roots," where she discusses her private and personal life for the first time.

September 22, 1999 - Is named a winner of the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts.

2003 - Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "Wonderful."

March 2004 - Is hospitalized and released for allergic reaction to antibiotics.

2004 - Starts her own record label, Aretha's Records.

2005 - Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "A House Is Not A Home."

November 5, 2005 - Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

2006 - After Franklin points out that no Motown talent was appearing in the Detroit Super Bowl halftime show, the NFL asks her to sing the national anthem along with Aaron Neville prior to the game.

2007 - Wins Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for "Never Gonna Break My Faith," shared with Mary J. Blige.

February 10, 2008 - Is Grammy's 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.

February 14, 2008 - Receives the NAACP Vanguard Award at the annual Image Awards ceremony.

January 20, 2009 - Performs "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

February 2010 - A Snickers commercial starring Franklin and Liza Minnelli airs for the first time.

July 27, 2010 - Appears on stage with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on piano, in Philadelphia, to raise money for charity. Rice is a classical pianist. They perform individually and together, classical, pop and patriotic selections.

August 1, 2010 - Falls in her home, breaking two ribs. The incident forces her to cancel concert appearances for August.

February 25, 2011 - During an interview with Wendy Williams, Franklin reveals a loss of 85 lbs. The ailment that resulted in surgery in December remains undisclosed and a topic of conversation she dismisses with the comment, "I've left that behind, I'm feeling wonderful."

May 3, 2011 - Releases new album, "Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love."

October 8, 2014 - Achieves a milestone in music history by becoming the first female to earn her 100th hit on Billboard's Hot R&B song chart with "Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version)."

October 21, 2014 - Releases a new album, "Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics."

March 5, 2015 - Performs live on the Motown themed episode of American Idol in Detroit.

September 26, 2015 - Franklin sings "Amazing Grace" at the Festival of Families, one of the events sponsored by the Vatican for Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia.

February 7, 2017 - Franklin announces she will retire from performing in concert after the release of one more album. "I am retiring this year, she told a local television station in Detroit. "I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert."


Send a News Tip to Action News

Learn More About 6abc Apps