This Day in Black History: Jan. 21, 1987

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: BET Honors 2012 Post-Party at the Smithsonian Art Museum and Portrait Gallery, January 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. The BET Honors 2012 will premiere on Monday, February 13, at 9:00 PM on BET. (Photo by Morris Melvin/PictureGroup)

This Day in Black History: Jan. 21, 1987

Aretha Franklin becomes first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Jan. 21, 1987.

Published January 21, 2014

Aretha Franklin, beloved "Queen of Soul," made history on Jan. 21, 1987, when she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“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)

Written by Joyce Jones


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