In honor of Franklin’s remarkable life, Us Weekly has rounded up five of her best musical moments.
The Detroit native shot to global superstardom with the April 1967 release of what would become her signature song. The Otis Redding-penned soul record became an anthem for the feminist movement, and had women everywhere singing, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Rolling Stone ultimately named it the No. 5 song of all time.
2. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
Franklin tapped her sisters Carolyn and Erma to provide backing vocals on the September 1967 track, which was cowritten by the incomparable duo Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It has been covered by dozens of artists over the years, most memorably Céline Dion and Mary J. Blige. Franklin sang the song as a tribute to King at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, and her performance famously left then-president Barack Obama in tears.
3. “I Say a Little Prayer”
The legendary singer covered Dionne Warwick’s R&B tune in July 1968. Her rendition quickly topped music charts across the world, thanks in part to the gospel-like backing vocals by The Sweet Inspirations. “We did a great record, but she topped it,” songwriter Hal David said of Franklin during a 2010 interview with NPR.
4. “Chain of Fools”
Franklin famously reworked a demo of the November 1967 song to make it her own. She suggested adding extra harmonies to songwriter Don Covay’s original recording — and it worked. The track won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1969, and went on to be ranked No. 249 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
5. National Anthem
The music legend made headlines in November 2016 when she performed a rousing five-minute rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings game in her hometown. She sat behind a piano in the middle of Ford Field and took the crowd to church in a way that only she could.
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