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Aretha Franklin (1942)close

The daughter of the Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Both her parents were musical and sang gospel. As a teenager, she too sang gospel with her two sisters Carolyn and Erma. She made her first recordings as a gospel artist at the age of 14. In the late '60s, Franklin became one of the biggest international recording stars in all of pop. Many also saw Franklin as a symbol of Black America itself, reflecting the increased confidence and pride of African-Americans in the decade of the civil rights movements and other triumphs for he Black community. The chart statistics are impressive in and of themselves: ten Top Ten hits in a roughly 18-month span between early 1967 and late 1968, for instance, and a steady stream of solid mid-to-large-size hits for the next five years after that. Her success has earned her the nickname "Lady Soul" or "the Queen of Soul."

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