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Q: Aretha Franklin ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Aretha Franklin
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ciao-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 06 Oct 2003 08:26 PDT
Expires: 05 Nov 2003 07:26 PST
Question ID: 263085
I need information about Aretha Franklin from her early childhood to
present.  About her career, how she got started, who or what
influenced her, when she won awards, how old was she, etc.  Help!
Subject: Re: Aretha Franklin
Answered By: journalist-ga on 06 Oct 2003 10:55 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings Ciao:

I've located many resources for you and I am including snippets from
each link with the URL.  Please visit each link for additional
information - I'm not able to reproduce all here because of copyright


Rolling Stone Magazine - Aretha Franklin biography
"The fate of gospel music was forever altered in 1956 when a
14-year-old choir girl named Aretha first belted out "Precious Lord"
for a congregation of 4,500 at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist
Church...An untouchable force behind the microphone, Franklin hit a
stumbling block when she became a 15-year-old unwed mother. By age 17
she had two sons in Detroit and a future waiting in New York..."

Aretha Franklin
"Her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, was a Baptist preacher who, once he
had moved his family to Detroit, became famous throughout black
America for his fiery sermons and magnetic public appearances. He knew
the major gospel stars Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, who in turn
gave his daughter valuable tutelage, along with two other sisters Erma
and Carolyn. At the age of 12, Aretha was promoted from the choir to
become a featured soloist...Despite Franklin's professional success,
her personal life grew confused. Her relationship with husband and
manager White disintegrated, and while excellent singles such as
"Think" still appeared, others betrayed a discernible lethargy."

Birth of the Queen by Mark Anthony Neal 
"Though much has been made of Franklin's roots in the black church and
the fact that as the daughter of the hugely popular and powerful
preacher Reverend C.L. Franklin, folks like Mahailia Jackson, Sam
Cooke, Clara Ward (who was Franklin's most significant vocal
influence), and Reverend Cleveland often made house calls to Aretha's
home when she was child, the reality is that Franklin had many
influences outside of the church. In the city of Detroit, where
Franklin grew up, there was a vibrant, though understated, be-bop
community that can still be heard in the deep-blue sparsity of Jay
Dee's hip-hop production."

Aretha Live at the Filmore West
"Aretha toured the country with her father and recorded sacred music
for Chess (actually their sister-company, Checker) before making her
first mainstream gesture. Moving to New York City in 1960 she took
dance lessons, received additional vocal training, and signed a
contract with John Hammond at Columbia Records to make “pop”

Aretha's Bio, Part II 
"While fame tumbled down upon her, Franklin led a personal life of
hardship hidden from the world. Her troubled eight-year marriage to
White ended in 1969, after they had a son, Teddy Jr. That same year
her father was arrested for possession of marijuana and she was
rumored to be drinking heavily, but Franklin did not allow her
personal strife to shut down the hit factory. "Bridge Over Troubled
Water," "Don't Play That Song," "Spanish Harlem" and "Rock Steady"
were just a few of the hits Franklin scored in the early '70s, during
which time she also gave birth to a fourth son, Kecalf, out of
wedlock. "
"After an unforgettable 1987, Aretha backed out of the spotlight in
1988.This was the year that her dear sister Carolyn, her brother and
her manager all died...[March 1999 Grammy Awards] The classical legend
Luciano Pavarotti was ailing during the night of the telecast, so he
couldn't perform his 'Nessun Dorma' piece.Well, the audience was
stunned to see Pavarotti's friend Aretha on stage to perform the opera
standard, and she tore it up!Everyone talked about Aretha, and Eddie
Murphy was so touched by her performance, that he sent a bouquet of
[This is a three-part bio.  Please see all pages beginning at ]

"Aretha was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Reverend C.
L. Franklin and his gospel singer wife, Barbara (reportedly Mahalia
Jackson's favorite gospel singer). Aretha, her two brothers, and two
sisters moved with their parents first to Buffalo, New York, and then
to Detroit, Michigan, in 1948, where the Rev. Franklin soon developed
a large and devoted following at the New Bethel Baptist Church. When
Aretha was six, her mother left her husband and children. She died
four years later, when Aretha was only ten...The most beloved and
respected members of the African-American community stopped by when
they were in Detroit. The reverend, a powerful and charismatic man,
was a celebrity who associated with other stars, many from the world
of music, including Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, Rev. James Cleveland,
the Staples family, Dinah Washington, and Sam Cooke. Rev. Franklin and
his family were also close friends with Dr. Reverend Martin Luther
King, Jr.  Whether it was playing piano with her sisters on the back
porch, for guests at home, or at church, Aretha was always singing."

Aretha bio lacks soul
"It started when the trumpet player made a "smark remark" to Franklin,
which upset Franklin's husband, Ted White, who later got into a
screaming match with the session's producer, Jerry Wexler, supposedly
about the fact that all the musicians were white. The owner of the
studio then took things further by getting into a fist fight with
Aretha's husband, and before you knew it, Aretha had flown back to New
York, where she promptly disappeared off the face of the earth for a
couple of weeks."

Aretha to Tell Her Story
"Aretha was born in 1942 to the Reverend C.L. Franklin, a Detroit
pastor and gospel singer (called the Man with the Million-Dollar
Voice). Her mother, also a singer, deserted the family when Aretha was
six.  She had two children out of wedlock before her 17th birthday.
Her first marriage to her then-manager ended after he struck her in
public and shot her production manager. Her second marriage also ended
in divorce.  In the late 1960s Franklin was arrested for reckless
driving and disorderly conduct and rumored to have had a drinking
problem. She's also afraid of flying, which has cut into her touring."

Salon Magazine article "Aretha"
"Erma Franklin, Aretha's older sister, is the one I'd always thought
was going to be the star. She later made records and TV appearances,
too. Even though I was jazz-struck, and thought rhythm & blues people
were uncool, in my book -- which was still largely blank -- Erma was
undeniably cool. When I learned that it was she and sister Carolyn who
came up with the idea of injecting the phrase "Sock it to me!" into
the backup vocal they provided for Aretha's fiery "Respect," I almost
"So the Memphis-born Aretha, the second of six Franklin children, had
grown up comfortably in success-blessed settings...Two of gospel
music's giants -- James Cleveland and singer and hymn composer Clara
Ward -- were frequent, sometimes live-in visitors at the Franklin home
in Detroit on stately LaSalle Boulevard. Both Cleveland and Ward
encouraged and inspired Aretha in her singing as well as her piano
playing, which continues to be underrated"

Aretha Franklin: Love Songs
"Aretha went out on the road as part of a gospel caravan, an often
intense experience. The wear and tear of that life could compete with
the rock world any day. In retrospect, it seems that Aretha was not
emotionally ready for the life of a performer. Though she idolized her
father and probably preferred his company to school and a "normal"
teenage life, Aretha was very shy and insecure. She loved to sing,
however, and loved the notoriety it brought her...But perhaps the most
exciting visitor at the Franklin household in Aretha's youth had been
her idol Dinah Washington, Queen of the Blues. Aretha was enamored of
Washington and inspired by her vocal stylings.  Soul singer Sam Cooke
was also a visitor to the Franklin household at this time. Aretha
loved Cooke and counted him among her biggest influences. (She also
apparently had a crush on him.)"

Aretha Franklin
" VH-1's list of the 100 greatest women in the history of rock
and roll: Aretha was ranked number one, ahead of Tina Turner at number
two and Janis Joplin at number three. In '87 Aretha was the first
woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, and in '94
she was the youngest award-winner in the history of the Kennedy Center
Honors. In 2000 VH1 pronounced her the female singer who has been on
the Hot 100 charts the most times...Soul singer Aretha Franklin has
filed a $50-million lawsuit against American Media Inc., the publisher
of the Star tabloid magazine, claiming she was defamed by an article
that said she abuses alcohol. The lawsuit stems from a December 2000
story headlined "Aretha Franklin Drinking Herself into the Grave,"
which said that the Queen of Soul had an alcohol problem that caused
her to cancel a host of concert appearances, and posed a threat to her
career and health."

Aretha Franklin Claims She's Cooperating With Arson Investigation
"The $1.6 million, 12-bedroom home--one of four Franklin owns in the
Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Township--burned to the ground on October
25. Last week the prosecutor's office ruled that the fire was the
result of arson, and said that there was a suspect in the case. The
suspect is not Franklin, who was on tour at the time of the blaze, but
possibly a 45-year-old man from Detroit who had been detained near the
home on the night of the fire with traces of accelerant on his hands
and clothes."

Aretha Franklin Fined for Tennis Court
[article too short to reproduce here]

Divas - The Site - Trivia: Aretha Franklin
"The state of Michigan has proclaimed her voice a natural resource."
"She considers Judy Garland one of the supreme song stylists..."
"...youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor."
[Numerous blurbs about Aretha - I believe you'll enjoy the offerings
on this site]

Smoking facts regarding Aretha Franklin's habit
""surprisingly, until just a few years ago, Aretha smoked 40
cigarettes a day, though she says her voice has improved no end since
she quit the weed", The Express (UK), Sep. 12, '98"

Aretha Franklin - Kennedy Center Honors

Aretha Franklin Grammy Awards

Aretha Franklin filmography

Aretha Franklin discography
Discography minus Columbia
Aretha Franklin Singles and LPs

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Richard De La Font Agency, Inc - Corporate Entertainment Booking
[Representing Aretha Franklin]
"When she's not taking care of her day-to-day, career-related
activities ("I love the business aspects of the music business"),
you're likely to find the Queen of Soul brushing up on her French, in
the kitchen making one of her famous dishes for friends, family, and
fellow entertainers, out fishing, dancing at a local Detroit niterie
and, without doubt, watching her favorite soaps, "The Young and the
Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful."


I thoroughly enjoyed researching this question and I discovered many
things about her I had not known before.  Should you require any
clarification of the links or information I have provided, please
request it before rating and closing the question and I will be happy
to assist you further.

Best regards,



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Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 06 Oct 2003 11:38 PDT

Time 100 Artists and Entertainers
[many more facts not in above links]

Aretha Franklin timeline


"aretha franklin" timeline
ciao-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Great answer with loads of support sites.  Thanks a bunch!

Subject: Re: Aretha Franklin
From: journalist-ga on 23 Oct 2003 10:36 PDT
Thank you so much for your rating, comments and added generosity!  I'm
delighted you are pleased - I was able to learn much more about one of
my favorite vocalists so I also thank you for asking such an
interesting question!

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Aretha Franklin
From: journalist-ga on 10 Nov 2003 09:27 PST
Hello again, Ciao!  If you are still searching for Aretha info, the
November 2003 issue of Vanity Fair features a few questions answered
by her in the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of that issue.  :)

Best regards,

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