Aretha Franklin is both a 20th and 21st century musical and cultural icon known simply by her first Aretha. She is the reigning and undisputed “Queen Of Soul” with a legacy that spans five decades. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Aretha began her career singing gospel at her father, minister C. L. Franklin’s church as a child. In 1960, at the age of 18, Aretha embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records with modest success.
After moving to Atlantic Records in 1967, she released a steady string of US top ten hits through 1973 including “Spanish Harlem”, “Chain Of Fools”, “Baby I Love You”, “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “Daydreaming”, “The House That Jack Built”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", ”Think“ and her first chart-topper “Respect” – a song that also won Aretha her first of 18 Grammys. During this time, several of her songs were also successful overseas.
By the mid-70s, Aretha’s commercial success waned and she left Atlantic for Clive Davis' Arista Records in 1980. Her 1982 song “Jump to It,” returned her to the top 40 for the first time in six years. 1985’s Who’s Zoomin' Who? got her back into the top 10 twice with its title track and “Freeway Of Love”. Four more songs reached the top 40 through 1986.