Did you hear that Aretha Franklin died? Maybe not.
Rumors of the Queen of Soul's death have floated through the Internet since 2010. But, at 72, Aretha Franklin is feeling great, looking great, recording a new album and launching a tour.
Franklin has been cranking out hits with her powerhouse voice since the '60s. She emerged as America's Queen of Soul when she blended her Gospel roots with R&B, jazz and rock sounds to belt out songs like "RESPECT" and "Chain of Fools."
She stunned a whole new generation when she played a cameo in the '80s classic, "The Blues Brothers." The effortless power and strong emotional presence she brought to the Hell-hath-no-fury themed "Think" almost blew audiences out of their seats.
Franklin sits squarely in the number one spot on Rolling Stones' 100 Greatest Singers list. Rolling Stone has this to say about Franklin: "You know a force from heaven. You know something that God made. And Aretha is a gift from God."
The sheer power of Franklin's voice is overwhelming, and it's impossible to watch her without being shocked by the effortlessness of her singing. She simply opens her mouth, like a normal human, and glory comes pouring out. Her voice is clear, bright, strong, honest, and full of emotion.
Her career has gone through slow spells, sometimes because the diva was tackling personal issues and other times because fame is fickle and the music industry is cyclical. But respect for her incredible vocal talent has never flagged, among audiences and within the industry. Franklin was the very first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987. She has more million-selling records than any other female artist. Ever. She holds 18 Grammies, ranging from "Most Promising Female Vocalist" in 1961 to a 1991 "Legend Award" and a "Lifetime Achievement Award" in 1994. Her most recent Grammy was in 2008, for a duet with Mary J. Bilge.
In 2010, Franklin had to cancel some concert dates due to undisclosed health problems — that's when the premature rumors of her death began to circulate. She's emerged triumphantly in 2014, declared herself healthy again, and will spend the summer and fall touring the US and Canada.