Tributes across the globe continue to flow for Aretha Franklin, ‘the queen of soul’, who has died aged 76.
Regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time, Aretha died of advanced pancreatic cancer.
Aretha sold more than 75million records in her lifetime and won 18 Grammy awards.
She had 77 entries in the US Billboard Hot 100 and 20 number 1 singles on the R&B chart. Her last album was A Brand New Me, released in November 2017. It paired archival vocal recordings for Atlantic Records with new orchestral arrangements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Her last original recording was Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics in 2014, which included her take on Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
“American history wells up when Aretha sings,” former US president Barack Obama said of her performance of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honours.
“Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock’n’roll – the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope.”
In the wake of her death, some of America’s most prominent figures have paid their respects. Barack and Michelle Obama put out a joint statement, reading, in part:
“Every time she sang, we were all graced with a glimpse of the divine. Through her compositions and unmatched musicianship, Aretha helped define the American experience.
“In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade—our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.
She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance. Franklin performed at Obama’s 2009 inauguration, singing My Country, Tis of Thee.