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The Frank Talent of Aretha Louise Franklin

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Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee (bio 1). She was one of five children born to Rev. Clarence L. Franklin and Barbara (Siggers) Franklin (Moritz 132). Aretha was born into a very musical family. Her mother, Barbara, was a gospel singer and her sisters, Erma and Carolyn, are both vocalists, too (Glickman 1, Moritz 132). Her brothers took a different, unmusical approach to their lives. Her brother, Cecil, is the Assistant Pastor at his father’s church and her other brother, Vaughn, is a career man in the United States (Moritz 132). When Aretha was two years old her father took her, and the rest of his family, North (Moritz 132). Five years after they moved, they settled in Detroit, Michigan (Moritz 132). By the time she was six, Aretha’s parents had separated (bio 1). Four years later, in 1952, her mother passed away due to a heart attack (bio 1, Moritz 132). The tragedy took a toll on the young ten year old. Many times, Aretha and her siblings were left in the care of the housekeepers while their father was away on tour for weeks at a time (Moritz 132). At the age of fifteen, Aretha had her first son, and her second was only two years after that (bio 1). Saying Aretha had a rough childhood would be an understatement. Throughout her childhood, Aretha had many influential guests in her home and at her father’s church. While shaping her singing style, she was influenced by the blues and jazz legends Billy Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughn (Rock 1). Her greatest influences were her aunt, Clara Ward and Mahalia Jackson (Rock 1). Many men inspired her, too. For example, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and Sam Cooke were just a few (Rock 1). Aretha’s style of music was also wid... ... middle of paper ... ...o 2). She had become the female artist with the second most Grammys of all time with a whopping eighteen Grammys (bio 1). She has also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Grammy Living Legend Award (Sony 1). In 1987, Aretha was the first woman ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 (Glickman 2). Many years later, in 2005, she received a Presidential Medal of Freedom honor (Sony 1). Aretha had many opportunities to sing at important events. She sang at the 1968 Demorcratic Convention (bio 2). Aretha also sang her rendition of “Precious Lord” at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (bio 2). Another funeral Aretha performed at was one of her major influences, Mahalia Jackson, in 1972 (bio 2). Aretha has been invited to sing at several presidential inaugurations, including our current president, Barack Obama (bio 3).
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