Remembering Aretha Franklin

Volume 118, No. 9September, 2018

THE QUEEN OF SOUL: Aretha Franklin, picture above in 1968, and at the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. She was a member of Local 802 for almost 25 years. Photos via Wikipedia.

The queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, died on Aug. 16 at the age of 76. She had been a member of Local 802 for almost 25 years, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Ms. Franklin was one of the best-selling artists of all time and appeared on more Billboard charts than any other female artist in history. She won 18 Grammy awards and sold over 75 million records worldwide. As a child, she sang gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, where her father was a minister. After signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Ms. Franklin achieved commercial acclaim with songs such as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Spanish Harlem” and “Think.” In the 1980s, Ms. Franklin continued her success with the albums “Jump to It” (1982) and “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” (1985), and her part in the 1980 film “The Blues Brothers.” In 1998, Ms. Franklin received international acclaim for singing the opera aria “Nessun dorma” at the Grammy Awards. Ms. Franklin earned numerous awards throughout her career, becoming the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. She is listed in at least two all-time lists on Rolling Stone magazine, including the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Local 802 members who have reminiscences of Aretha Franklin can send them to Allegro. Obituary edited from Aretha Franklin’s entry in Wikipedia.


Local 802 member Edward Simons, the world’s oldest active conductor, died at the age of 101. You can find a tribute in this issue. There are also tributes to Marvin Roth, Bill Watrous and Jim White.


The friends and family of David Spier invite fellow musicians to the David L. Spier Memorial Concert at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, at Saint Peter’s Church (619 Lexington Avenue).