Aretha Franklin is one of the great female vocalists of all time. Whether it's her big hits or her equally big personality, she's provided classic songs and countless memories to music fans around the world. There's no one like her both on and off stage, and in her honor here are the five reasons she is and always will be considered a legend of the music industry:
If commercial success is the way one measures an artist's legacy, Franklin checked that box a long time ago. A 2011 article documented that she had sold more than 75 million records around the world - and that number has obviously only grown in the last seven years. Franklin also has more than two dozen Gold certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America, for both single sales and full album sales. There's no doubt she's a commercial success and has been for decades. That's the kind of staying power most artists only dream of.
Over her career, Franklin has performed across so many genres that her versatility is near unparalleled. She began her career in gospel music, is most widely known for her R&B and soul recordings, but she's also covered pop hits and classical music. She's proven that there's almost nothing she can't do vocally, and that also represents a lot of creativity and courage on her part, because most artists wouldn't be constantly reinventing themselves like that. It's hard enough to establish a career in one genre, but Aretha Franklin transcends genres.
When it comes to live performance, Aretha Franklin simply fills a room and continues to do so, even as she gets older. Whether it's in 1971 or at the Kennedy Center in 2015, she carries herself like a legend, with poise and grace that isn't like any other artist. She's played all kinds of concerts and events over her career, and every one of them is memorable. She even made President Obama emotional after that Kennedy Center performance, which you can watch by clicking the included link above. She's a legend because she embodies everything music fans think of when that word comes to mind.
Franklin isn't just an outstanding musical artist individually; she also made steps forward in the bigger picture of the music industry. With her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1978, she made history as the first woman to earn that honor. She would also become the first woman inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the first woman to have 100 songs on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs Chart. What she accomplished hasn't just been for her. She's someone that any musical artist can look up to, regardless of genre, age or where you come from; she came into the industry and made it her own.
The most important thing about music is that it makes people feel something, and Aretha Franklin is a master at doing that. From her gospel roots to now as the Queen of Soul, every single one of her songs puts a smile on the face of people who hear it, because we can feel her talent and passion in it. Every performance she gives is special. And let's not forget her classic scene in "The Blues Brothers" that's one of the best moments in the entire movie. Aretha Franklin is a showstopper, and that's why she will always be a legend because no one can move an audience like Aretha.
For more on Aretha Franklin, visit her artist page at AXS.