Heeeeey! What you want,
Baby, I got it.
— Respect, opening lines.
Aretha Louise Franklin, The Queen of Soul
(b 25 March 1942).
She started her career in the early 1960s
. Her breakout hit was "Respect" (1967), a song originally written and recorded by Otis Redding
. This song helped define her persona: since it was originally written for a guy, its narrator is naturally more assertive than most female singers were before.
Her other hits include "Think" (erroneously known as
"Freedom"), "Chain of Fools", and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." Some of her many achievements include singing at Martin Luther King's funeral, becoming the first woman inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, standing in for Luciano Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammys with an improvised but showstopping operatic number, and singing at Barack Obama
's inauguration ceremony in a hat
that took on a life of its own
and is now kept at the Smithsonian. She has placed at #1 on both VH-1
's Top 100 Women of Rock n Roll and Rolling Stone
's Top 100 Singers of All Time.
Her appearance in The Blues Brothers
and its sequel as the wife of Matt "Guitar" Murphy revamped her career in the 1980s. She has never entirely gone away, still puts out hits, and draws crowds even today.