After turning 18, Franklin confided to her father that she aspired to follow Sam Cooke to record pop music. Before signing with Columbia, Sam Cooke tried to persuade Franklin's father to have his label, RCA sign Franklin.

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Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Barbara (née Siggers) and Clarence La Vaughn "C. Her father was an itinerant preacher originally from Shelby, Mississippi, while her mother was an accomplished piano player and vocalist.

Alongside Franklin, her parents had three other children while both C. and Barbara had children from outside their marriage. Franklin permanently relocated the family to Detroit, Michigan where he took over the pastorship of New Bethel Baptist Church.

Franklin also recorded acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Young, Gifted and Black and Amazing Grace before experiencing problems with her record company by the mid-1970s.

After her father was shot in 1979, Franklin left Atlantic and signed with Arista Records, finding success with her part in the film The Blues Brothers and with the albums Jump to It and Who's Zoomin' Who? In 1998, Franklin won international acclaim for singing the opera aria "Nessun dorma", at the Grammys of that year replacing Luciano Pavarotti.

The album featured her first single to chart the Billboard Hot 100, "Won't Be Long", which also peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart.

Mostly produced by Clyde Otis, Franklin's Columbia recordings saw her recording in diverse genres such as standards, vocal jazz, blues, doo-wop and rhythm and blues.

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Franklin has won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide.

Franklin has been honored throughout her career including a 1987 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in which she became the first female performer to be inducted.

By the end of the 1960s decade she had gained the title "The Queen of Soul".