Born 80 Years Ago #OnThisDay: Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul (LISTEN)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Today we celebrate the one and only Aretha Franklin, who was born 80 years ago #OnThisDay.

Franklin, whose voice was rightfully declared a natural resource by her home state of Michigan in 1985 is the focus of our Daily Drop podcast as GBN takes a brief look at her legacy through career highlights and offers sources to learn even more about the Queen of Soul.

Based on entries in the “A Year of Good Black News” Page-A-Day®️ Calendar for 2022, you can follow or subscribe to the Good Black News Daily Drop Podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or create your own RSS Feed. Or just check it out every day here on the main website (transcript below):


Hey, this Lori Lakin Hutcherson, founder and editor in chief of, here to share with you a daily drop of Good Black News for Friday, March 25th, 2022, based on the “A Year of Good Black News Page-A-Day Calendar” published by Workman Publishing.

“Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin was born on this day 80 years ago and offered a heavenly blend of gospel, R&B, blues, jazz, rock and pop (and even classical!) that this Earth may never see again. A piano prodigy from childhood, this Grammy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer wrote and performed classics such as “Think”:

[Excerpt from “Think”]

“Dr. Feelgood”:

[Excerpt from “Dr. Feelgood”]

“Day Dreaming”:

[Excerpt from “Day Dreaming”]

“Spirit in the Dark”:

[Excerpt from “Spirit in the Dark”]

and “Call Me”:

[Excerpt from “Call Me”]

Franklin also used her musical genius to turn cover songs into signature masterpieces such as “I Say a Little Prayer” – first recorded and released by Dionne Warwick:

[Excerpt from “Say a Little Prayer”]

“Until You Come Back to Me” – originally recorded by Stevie Wonder, though Aretha released her version first:

[Excerpt from “Until You Come Back to Me”]

And, the mother of all covers and remakes, ever, originally written, recorded and released by Otis Redding… “Respect”:

[Excerpt from “Respect”]


Additionally, Aretha Franklin’s 1972 Amazing Grace double album remains the best-selling live gospel music recording of all time, and her rendition of the title track to this day remains superlative:

[Excerpt from “Amazing Grace”]

Aretha continued to define and redefine singing and the sound of music in the 1980s and 1990s with songs like “Jump to It”:

[Excerpt from “Jump to It”]

“Freeway of Love”:

[Excerpt from “Freeway of Love”]

“I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” with George Michael:

[Excerpt from “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me”]

The anthemic “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” with Annie Lennox:

[Excerpt from “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”]

and her 1998 collaboration with Lauryn Hill, “A Rose Is Still A Rose.”

[Excerpt from “A Rose Is Still A Rose”]

That same year, Franklin made Grammy Awards show history and received a standing ovation when she filled in last-minute for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti by singing the operatic aria “Nessun Dorma”:

[Excerpt from “Nessun Dorma’]

Still going strong in the 21st century, in 2014 at the age of 72, Aretha scored a #1 hit on the U.S. Dance Charts with her remake of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”:

[Excerpt from “Rolling In The Deep”]

All hail, now and forever, the Queen.

To learn more about Aretha Franklin, read her 1999 autobiography Aretha: From These Roots, Respect: The Life and Times of Aretha Franklin by David Ritz, The Queen Next Door: Aretha Franklin, An Intimate Portrait by Linda Solomon, watch the must-see musical documentary Amazing Grace on DVD or currently streaming on Hulu [see my review here], the 2021 limited series Genius: Aretha starring Cynthia Erivo also now on Hulu or the 2021 feature film Respect starring Jennifer Hudson.

You can also check out a few Aretha Franklin playlists curated by me, one of the biggest Aretha Franklin stans around, on Spotify and Apple Music.

Links to these and other sources are provided in today’s show notes and in the episode’s full transcript posted on

This has been a daily drop of Good Black News, based on the “A Year of Good Black News Page-A-Day Calendar for 2022,” published by Workman Publishing, and available at, Amazon,Bookshop and other online retailers.

Intro and outro beats provided by and produced by White Hot. Excerpts of songs performed by Aretha Franklin are permitted under Fair Use.

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