Aretha Franklin is one of the most successful female recording artists of all time. She was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee to C. L. and Barbara Franklin. C.L. was a famous Baptist preacher who later founded his own church and Barbara was an accomplished pianist and singer. Aretha was a gifted musician since her childhood. She learned to play the piano by ear and had a marvelous voice. She began singing church gospel from a very early age and was considered a prodigy. Her parents separated when she was 6, and her mother died due to a heart attack when Aretha was 10 years old. The family moved to Detroit and Aretha often accompanied her father while he was travelling all over the country, delivering sermons. She sang in his gospel group and accompanied a measure of fame during her teens.
Her father initially managed her career, and Aretha was pursued by several labels. She eventually signed with Columbia Records, where she released her first album titled “Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo”. The album achieved modest commercial success and also made her an internationally recognized voice in Australia and Canada. She released two more albums in 1962, “The Electrifying Aretha Franklin” and “The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin”. Her albums were a mixture of pop and R&B, and included hits like “Won’t Be Long”, “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” and “Operation Heartbreak”. She performed at various concerts and tours and became more famous by the day. In 1967, she switched labels and moved to Atlantic Records. Her first album with Atlantic was “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” which was her most commercially successful album to date. It included hits like “Baby I Love You” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”.
The following year, she released two albums titled “Lady Soul” and “Aretha Now” including hits like “Chain of Fools”, “Ain’t No Way”, “Think” and “I Say a Little Prayer”. The same year, she won her first two Grammy Awards, appeared on the cover of Time