We have lost one of the absolute, undeniable, unarguable Greatest Of All Time artists
Farewell to the unbelievable talents of Aretha Franklin, who has died at the age of 76 after battling cancer and other health problems, surrounded by close friends and relatives at her home in Detroit.
Franklin enjoyed a career that most people can only dream of.
You can measure it in numbers: 112 charting singles on Billboard, including 77 hot 100 entries - making her the most-charted female artist in the chart-s history, 18 Grammy Awards, 75 million record sales worldwide and the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
But forget the numbers, because numbers alone can’t adequately describe pure talent - both God-given, but also maintained via a formidable work ethic and professionalism.
And never was that demonstrated more brilliantly than when she performed at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Singer/songwriter Carole King was one of those honoured at the awards, and she was shocked when her old friend Aretha walked onto the stage to perform her 1967 hit ’(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, which was co-written by King and a top 10 billboard hit for Franklin.
Just take a look at this and watch pure soul brilliance in action.
President Barack Obama was in the audience alongside King and his wife Michelle, and was seen to be visibly moved by the performance, wiping away a tear as she sang.
“American history wells up when Aretha sings,” he later explained.
“Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll - the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope”
A humble YouTube commenter sums up the performance rather eloquently, writing:
“Carole King is so happy seeing an old friend, the Miss Aretha Franklin, still slaying the song she made for her. Hands down to these two legendary women in music.”
Slaying, indeed. RIP Aretha Franklin.