Many are still mourning the loss of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. One with musical interests cannot help but think of the endless contributions Franklin has made, and the impact she left not only within her industry but others as well. Soul music may have been her mark, but gospel never left Aretha.
On the morning of Aug. 16, the musical legend passed. Her passing affected not only those in the secular industry but those of political standing, clergy, and gospel music.
Franklin's’ death brought into perspective her effortless genius of mastering soul music while staying true to her gospel roots.
Franklin’s funeral consisted of gospel icons such as The Clark Sisters, The Williams Brothers, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Shirley Caesar, and more. With such a sacred, poised celebration of life service, the impact Franklin made in the gospel industry was shown, but the influence of gospel music to Franklin’s career was not clear to all.
Franklin, was the daughter of the late Reverend C.L. Franklin, one of Detroit’s most prominent black preachers of his era. His church was a cultural haven for famous singers such as Clara Ward and Mahalia Jackson.
Gospel wasn’t just an influence in Franklin’s life; gospel was her musical foundation. It was a foundation backed by biblical teachings.
Franklin’s best-selling album, “Amazing Grace,” featured Rev. Franklin saying, “If you want to know the truth, she has never left the church,” which shows that music is not one dimensional.
Singers with a religious background are not bound to singing only one genre in one particular setting.
The singer’s historical release of “Amazing Grace” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 on July 22, 1972 according to Billboard.com. “30 Greatest Hits” is Franklin’s seventh top ten on the Billboard 200. The first was her live album, “Amazing Grace.” This sealed the multi-genre success of Franklin.
“Me and my sisters got a lot of our riffs and runs from her. The way she did her moans and groans, we’d do the same way," Twinkie Clark of the Clark sisters said to the Detroit Free Press.
"The way she’d improvise and ad lib, hit high notes, then go all the way down and hit low notes, we listened to all of that. Our mom (gospel music pioneer Mattie Moss Clark) taught and trained us, but Aretha was our greatest influence.”
Such accolades from gospel legends goes to show just how influential Franklin was beyond her accredited genre. Some may know gospel as good news, but Franklin stretched the term and its limitations like none other.
This respected natural woman took her religious foundation and implemented it in her passionate, strong and authentic tone. After 18 Grammys and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction later, the good news Franklin shared will forever resonate with music lovers across the world.