On this day, January 3, 1987, Aretha Franklin is the first woman inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame.


Aretha Franklin, whose powerful voice and powerful personal presence made her one of the great artists in world history, became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on this day in history, December 3. January 1987.

“Aretha Franklin was a passionate, sophisticated and dominant artist, whose recordings remain anthems that defined soul music,” writes the Rock Hall in its biography of the performer.

She “was only 25 years old when she achieved the title of Lady Soul with her unforgettable, proud, sexy, sincere and confident 1967 version of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect.'”

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Franklin’s cover of “Respect” and other hits like “Think” captured the unique strength of her voice and made her an icon of both female empowerment and the civil rights movement.

Her range as an artist was expressed in vocally tender and more personally vulnerable tunes like “Say a Little Prayer” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

American musician Aretha Franklin performs on stage at the Park West Auditorium in Chicago, Illinois, on March 23, 1992. (Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Franklin, also popularly known as the Queen of Soul, topped the list of the “200 Greatest Singers of All Time” that Rolling Stone just published on January 1.

“A force of nature. A work of genius. A gift from the heavens. Aretha Franklin’s voice is all that and more, which is why she remains the undisputed Queen, years after her last bow,” Rolling Stone said of the deceased artist. in 2018 of pancreatic cancer.

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The post also said, “His singing is the most magnificent sound to come out of America: more universal than Coltrane’s horn, bolder than Hendrix’s guitar.”

“Their singing is the most magnificent sound to come out of America.” – Rolling Stone

Another Rolling Stone, guitarist Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, had the honor of inducting Franklin into the Rock Hall in 1987.

“The dictionary has been exhausted. There are no superlatives left,” Richards said at the ceremony.

Aretha Franklin in 1968

American singer Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) during rehearsals for the Soul Together show at Madison Square Garden, New York, in June 1968. Proceeds from the show went to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fund. (Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Files/Getty Images)

Franklin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after the organization was criticized for inducting only male artists into its debut class of 10 artists in 1986.

The group featured a broad cross-section of talent from various genres: James Brown, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers among them. But there were no women.

The criticism has continued even in more recent times.

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“People have criticized the hall for this chauvinism for years,” Billboard wrote in 2019. “When Steve Miller was inducted in 2016, he called the Hall a ‘private boys club.'”

Aretha Franklin broke down the door of the club.

The performer was born in Memphis in 1942, son of the Reverend Clarence L. Franklin and Barbara V. Siggers. His family moved two years later to Detroit, where his father ministered at New Bethel Baptist Church to many of the Motor City’s most famous artists.

Aretha Franklin

Host Aretha Franklin answers questions in the press room at the 22nd annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 12, 2007, in New York City. (Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

“Living in the church’s parsonage at Boston Boulevard and Oakland Avenue, Aretha was exposed at an early age to music legends such as Art Tatum and Nat King Cole when they visited her father,” notes the Detroit Historical Society .

“I am grateful that his music will continue to bring joy to millions of future generations.” —President George W. Bush

“When she was 17, Franklin’s father decided that after five years of singing with his traveling gospel show, she was ready to continue singing in New York City. In 1967, the year ‘Respect’ hit charts, Franklin was crowned Chicago DJ Pervis Spann’s ‘Queen of Soul’. From there Aretha would go on to have 20 number one R&B hits and earn more than 20 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. .

American soul singer Aretha Franklin, star of the Atlantic record label.  (Photo by Periódicos Express/Getty Images)

Aretha Franklin was known for hits like “Chain of Fools,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Respect.” (Getty Images)

Although he grew up and later also died in Detroit, Franklin never recorded for Motown Records.

Instead, she was represented by major record labels, including Columbia, Atlantic, and Arista Records.

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His honors extended far beyond the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Franklin performed at three presidential inaugurations. She was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012, and the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2020.

He earned a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation in 2019 in honor of “his indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

Aretha Franklin George W. Bush

President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, to singer Aretha Franklin as actor Andy Griffith (far right) looks on in the East Room of the White House on November 9, 2005, in Washington, DC. The medal is awarded to those who have made contributions to national security, world peace or culture. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President George W. Bush awarded Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2005.

“Aretha was a woman of achievement, with deep character and a loving heart,” the president wrote in a letter of condolence to Franklin’s family after her death in 2018.

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“He made important and lasting contributions to American music, with his gospel-inspired style and distinctive voice. His remarkable talent helped shape our nation’s cultural and artistic heritage,” he also wrote.

“I am proud to have known Aretha and am grateful that her music will continue to bring joy to millions of generations into the future.”

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