Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Although known for her soul recordings and referred to as The Queen of Soul, Franklin is also adept at jazz, blues, R&B, gospel music, and rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time as well as the ninth greatest artist of all time. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys. She has 20 No.1 singles on the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and two No.1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100: "Respect" (1967) and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" (1987), a duet with George Michael. Since 1961, she has scored a total of 45 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She also has the most million-selling singles of any female artist (14). Between 1967 and 1982 she had 10 No.1 R&B albums—more than any other female artist. In 1987, Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was the only featured singer at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
Aretha Louise Franklin (named for two aunts) was born in a two-room house in Memphis located at 406 Lucy St. She was the third of four children born to Barbara (née Siggers) and C.L. Franklin and the fifth of six overall in between past relationships by her parents. Franklin's family moved to Buffalo, when Franklin was two, and then by four, had settled in Detroit. Following the move to Detroit, Franklin's parents, who had a troubled marriage, split. Due to her father's work as a Baptist minister, Franklin was primarily raised by her grandmother, Rachel. Franklin suffered a tragedy when her mother died in Buffalo when Aretha was ten. Franklin sang in church at an early age and learned how to play piano by ear.
By her late preteens, Franklin was regularly singing solo numbers in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church. C.L. (né Clarence LaVaughn) Franklin), Aretha's father, was a respected local preacher. She grew up with local and national celebrities hanging out at her father's home including gospel greats Albertina Walker and her group The Caravans, Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, three women who played a pivotal role in her vocal development as a child.