This Aretha Franklin Reading List Is The Best Of Writing By Her & About Her
Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
By Kerri Jarema
Grammy Award winning soul singer Aretha Franklin died on Thursday at age 76. News broke earlier this week that Franklin was "gravely ill" with pancreatic cancer, prompting an outpouring of love and well-wishes from fans and celebrities alike — even Beyonce and Jay-Z dedicated their Aug. 13 concert to the Queen of Soul. Franklin's career began in 1956 and spanned multiple decades, and she sang iconic hits like "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "I Say A Little Prayer."
Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father was minister. It wasn't until the age of 18 that she embarked on her now legendary music career, when she left her native Detroit and moved to New York. There, she struggled for years to find her place in the industry. Her fortune — and ours! — finally changed in 1967 when "Respect" was released.
Franklin was an 18-time Grammy award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee — the first woman ever to receive the honor — among many other accolades. She continued to perform steadily (including a much-talked about appearance at former President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration) until she retired from music in 2017. Below is some required reading if you want to learn more about the fascinating life of the iconic singer, from biographies to poems and features that celebrate the legacy she leaves behind: