Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tenn. on Mar. 25, 1942. Her father, C.L. Franklin, was a preacher and her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin, was a singer. Aretha's parents separated when she was just a child, and her mother died a few years later. Aretha developed her musical talents at an early age, and she would often sing in front of her father's congregation and as part of his show. In this picture, she posed alongside her father and her sister Carolyn.
According to NPR, the singer dropped out of school at age 18 and later signed a deal with Columbia Records. There, she recorded songs like "Rock a Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" and "Rough Lover." In 1966, she signed with Atlantic Records, as pictured here.
In 1967, Franklin released her album I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You). The first song on the record was "Respect." The song earned her two Grammy wins: Best Rhythm and Blues Recording and Best Rhythm and Blues Solo Vocal Performance.
Over the next few years, Franklin released many hits, including "Natural Woman," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Chain of Fools," "Share Your Love With Me," and "Baby I Love You." She continued to receive several Grammy Awards and was dubbed the Queen of Soul. However, she also experienced personal challenges. She divorced from her first husband, Ted White, in 1969.
During the 1970s, Franklin released songs like "Rock Steady" and "Until You Come Back To Me." She also started entering the film industry. She did the soundtrack for the 1976 film Sparkle and had a cameo in the 1980s film The Blues Brothers. She also married her second husband, actor Glynn Turman, in 1978. They would divorce just a few years later.
During the 1980s, Franklin released several albums under Arista Records, including Aretha, Love All the Hurt Away, Jump to It, Get It Right, Who's Zoomin' Who? and Through the Storm. She also became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1993, Franklin sang at the inauguration of Bill Clinton. She would perform at three presidential inaugurations over her lifetime. She also went on to win the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys.
In 2006, Franklin sang the National Anthem with Aaron Neville. She would later perform again at the 2016 Super Bowl.
In February 2017, Franklin announced she was retiring from concert performances. However, she still squeezed in a few shows. This photo shows the Queen of Soul performing at Elton John's AIDS Foundation Gala in November 2017.
Over the course of her career, Franklin won a total of 18 Grammys and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She died on August 16 and is survived by her four children.