Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1942. As the United States was becoming more mired in World War II, Aretha was being raised by her grandmother on a steady diet of gospel music. She began to sing and play piano without formal instruction at an early age. Aretha used these early influences to earn a recording contract with Columbia Records before her twentieth birthday. While these recording sessions produced some results on the charts, it was the varied styles of music that she sang that set Aretha apart from the average singer of the era.
Many fans and critics began to take notice that Aretha sang all styles of music with her own sound and soul. Aretha sang with the same feeling and soul regardless of the style or venue. Due to this unwavering approach and her powerful voice, Aretha was given the title of the “Queen of Soul”. To date, her legacy includes 18 Grammys and 45 top 40 hits. She won her first Grammy in 1968 and her last, so far, in 2008. In 1987, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame making her the first female artist to receive this honor.
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