“I don’t think there’s anybody I have known who possesses an instrument like hers and who has such a thorough background in gospel, the blues and the essential Black-music idiom,” Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder of Atlantic Records, said on the occasion. “She is blessed with an extraordinary combination of remarkable urban sophistication and deep blues feeling... The result is maybe the greatest singer of our time.”
Music was perhaps her destiny. Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, to a preacher father and a gospel singer mother. The fourth of five children, she toured with her father's traveling revival show. She also played the piano, and was considered to be a child prodigy.
In 1960, Franklin moved to New York, where she ultimately signed with Columbia Records. Since then, she has won 18 Grammy awards and received the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award.
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(Photo: Morris Melvin/PictureGroup)