Aretha Louise Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular musical career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While Franklin's career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as "Respect", "Chain of Fools", "Think", " A Natural Woman", "I Never Loved a Man", and "I Say a Little Prayer", propelled her past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as "The Queen of Soul".
Franklin continued to record acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Lady Soul, Spirit in the Dark, Young, Gifted and Black, Amazing Grace, and Sparkle before experiencing problems with her record company. Franklin left Atlantic in 1979 and signed with Arista Records. She appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers before releasing the successful albums Jump to It, Who's Zoomin' Who?, and Aretha on the Arista label.
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