Editorial | Thank you, Aretha Franklin

Editorial | Thank you, Aretha Franklin

Few entertainers could cross demographic lines like the late Aretha Franklin. Her glorious voice and styling leaves us with great memories of summer nights, young love, driving with the top down, the need for respect and, of course, that scene in an iconic Illinois-centered movie where she sang, strutted and danced her way through a Chicago diner.

How appropriate that there's an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter — named by a NASA astronomer — that is called Asteroid 249516 Aretha for the late Aretha Franklin, an entertainer whose talent was out of this world.

Franklin's death from pancreatic cancer Thursday was marked with front-page coverage on newspapers ranging from the Detroit Free Press and New York Daily News to the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. Her life and her powerful singing voice transcended age, gender and race, although some of her songs are considered anthems to feminism and black pride.

She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and she'll forever be known as the "Queen of Soul."

But more than anything else, Aretha Franklin left us with muscular musical memories and anthems to live by that are important to each of us, whether it's the demand for esteem in "Respect," her emotional versions of "Amazing Grace" or "A Change is Gonna Come," the sexual randiness in "Dr. Feelgood," the outright joyousness of "Freeway of Love," or "Think," the 1968 hit brought back in 1980 for a memorable scene in "The Blues Brothers."

Thank you, Miss Franklin, for all those gifts and all those memories.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
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