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Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ Dead at 76

Photo of Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin performing in Austin, Texas in 2007. (Credit: WENN)

Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul,” has died. Her family confirmed that her death was “due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type,” says her BBC obituary.

Nearly every news outlet calls Aretha Franklin “The Queen of Soul” in its headline or lead sentence (or both). It’s one of the all-time great rock nicknames, and unlike many nicknames its origins are clear:

In 1964, Chicago radio deejay Pervis Spann ceremoniously placed a crown atop her head during a performance at Chicago’s Regal Theater and dubbed her “the new Queen of Soul.”

Nice. Her hits are iconic: “Respect,” “Chain of Fools” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” among many others. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in 1987) and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.

What a career. Learn more at Rolling Stone or see our own Aretha Franklin biography.


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