Aretha Franklin
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Aretha Louise Franklin (1942 - 2018)

Aretha Louise Franklin
Born in Memphis, Shelby, Tennessee, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Sister of , , [private sister (1940s - unknown)] [half], and
Wife of [private husband (1940s - unknown)]
Wife of [private husband (1940s - unknown)]
Mother of [private son (1950s - unknown)], [private son (1950s - unknown)], [private son (1960s - unknown)] and [private son (1970s - unknown)]
Died at age 76 in Bloomfield Hills, Oakland, Michigan, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 16 Aug 2018
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Aretha Franklin is Notable.

Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," was known around the world for her distinctive voice and soulful music style. Widely considered the most influential female vocalist of the 1960s,[1] she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[2][3][4]

Aretha Louise Franklin was born to Rev. Clarence LaVaughn "C.L." (Walker) Franklin and Barbara Vernice Siggers in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25th, 1942.[1][3] [5] She had several siblings, including Cecil, Carolyn, and Erma Franklin, who later worked with her; some from both of her parents' prior relationships.[1][4] When she was very young, Aretha's family joined the Great Migration, settling first in Buffalo, New York, then in Detroit, Michigan.[5] She began singing in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father's "million dollar voice" made him a celebrity preacher, attracting many famous gospel singers to his church and their home.[1] But her parents divorced when she was 6, and her mother moved to Buffalo, New York.[3] She was able to remain close to her mother via summer vacations and her mother's frequent visits, but Barbara died of a heart attack before Aretha was ten years old. It was at this time that Aretha learned to play piano by ear.[1]

Aretha dropped out of high school after having her first child at age thirteen. Her second was born two years later.[4] She married in 1961, but they divorced in 1969.[3][4] They had a son.[4] Aretha married again in 1978. They divorced in 1984.[4] The mother of four sons,[1] Aretha loved her family fiercely and insisted they brought her the most joy in her life.[3]

Aretha began her singing career in her father's Baptist church singing gospel music.[3] She was taught to play piano by ear and often accompanied herself throughout her career.[1] She recorded her first gospel album, Spirituals, at age fourteen. With her father as her manager, Aretha signed to Columbia Records in 1960. After a few years, she landed at Atlantic Records and her popularity took off.[3]

Aretha was also an outspoken supporter of civil rights, touring with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the age of 16.[3] She sang at his funeral in 1968.[1] Her cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" became an anthem of the civil rights and feminist movements.[3]

In the '80s Aretha signed with Arista Records and Clive Davis. Many of the singles she put out during those years that ended up on the radio were collaborations with other artists across the musical spectrum.[3] She later moved to RCA. Over her lifetime she had more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts, 17 of which were top 10 pop songs and 20 which were number 1 R&B hits.[4]

Aretha was the recipient of numerous awards, including the highest US civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and 18 Grammy awards, as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.[2][4] She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was also honored as the Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.[2] She had honorary degrees from Yale, Princeton, and Harvard.[4] In 2020, she was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[6]

Aretha Franklin died on August 16th, 2018 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan after years battling a type of pancreatic cancer.[1][7][3][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Wikipedia contributors, "Aretha Franklin," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Wikipedia:Aretha Franklin (accessed August 9, 2021).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Aretha Franklin Biography,, accessed 16 Aug 2018
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Douglas Wolk and David Browne, "Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Dies at 76," Rolling Stone Magazine (online), 16 Aug 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Jon Pareles, "Aretha Franklin, The 'Queen of Soul,' Dead at 76," New York Times, online, 16 Aug 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 1950 Census: "1950 United States Federal Census"
    National Archives at Washington, DC; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Year: 1950; Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: 2599; Page: 73; Enumeration District: 85-231
    Ancestry Record 62308 #177637793 (accessed 16 September 2023)
    Aretha Hill (8), single daughter, in household of Clarence Hill (38) in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA. Born in Tennessee.
  6. National Women's Hall of Fame, 2020
  7. Elizabeth Chuck and Alex Johnson, "Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul, dies at age 76," NBC News, (2018); accessed 16 August 2018.
  8. Memorial: Find a Grave (has image)
    Find A Grave: Memorial #192285104 (accessed 18 December 2023)
    Memorial page for Aretha Franklin (25 Mar 1942-16 Aug 2018), citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA (plot: Main Mausoleum, Lower Level, Sect. 185-188); Maintained by Find a Grave.

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Comments: 4

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Her FindAGrave memorial I noticed isn’t on her profile but here is the link

Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 18 December 2023), memorial page for Aretha Franklin (25 Mar 1942–16 Aug 2018), Find a Grave Memorial ID 192285104, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.

posted by Andrew Simpier
Thank you I have updated the profile with the citation and cemetery category.
Her 15yr old granddaughter auditioned for the tv show "American Idol" 2022, but was told she wasn't ready yet and to come back when she had more experience.
posted by N Gauthier
Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring this profile in the Connection Finder this week. Between now and Wednesday is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can.



posted by Abby (Brown) Glann

Rejected matches › Aretha Franklin