Aretha Franklin was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize

Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace | still from film

When the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday, the legendary gospel / R&B / rock / soul force of nature Aretha Franklin received a posthumous Special Citation award.

Franklin passed away on August 16 of last year following a fight with pancreatic cancer. Prior to that, she spent more than a half century working in music: singing in the gospel circuit during her teenage years, becoming a pop star in the 60s, and continuing recording and performing for the rest of her life, from a late 90s collab with Lauryn Hill to her final U.S. tour in 2017. Continue reading →


Live Coverage: Aretha Franklin’s funeral

NEW YORK – MARCH 21: Singer Aretha Franklin performs at Radio City Music Hall on March 21, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Detroit will celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin on Friday, August 31st at 10 a.m. EST. Over two dozen people — including heads of state, a record mogul, and music legends of nearly every description — will take the stage of the Greater Grace Temple to speak, sing and pray in honor of the gift that Franklin so readily shared with the world. Some of the folks who will be at the Queen of Soul’s homegoing include Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, Clive Davis, Michael Eric Dyson, Cicely Tyson, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Ronald Isley and others.

Watch it live beginning Friday, August 31st at 10AM.


Celebrate the life and music of Aretha Franklin with Monica, Kathy Sledge, Kindred The Family Soul and more at West Philly’s N2N Festival

Aretha Franklin | photo by Rich McKie for WXPN

The recent passing of R&B / soul icon Aretha Franklin was a major blow to the music world — and the world in general. This year, the N2N Festival in West Philadelphia will pay tribute to the Queen of Soul.

The annual day-long block party, which takes place at the intersection of 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue in the Cedar Park neighborhood of West Philadelphia, will feature performances by aughties R&B singer Monica, as well as Philadelphia’s Kathy Sledge, the founder of 70s disco/soul Sister Sledge of “We Are Family” fame. The husband-wife duo Kindred The Family Soul, who rose to prominence during Philly’s neo-soul 90s era, will also perform at N2N, with additional sets from jazz/pop vocalist Jean Carne, and R&B singers Kelly Price and Keke Wyatt. Continue reading →


XPN MusicNotes: Watch Chris Stapleton’s heartfelt tribute to Aretha Franklin

Chris Stapleton | photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin | via Orange County Register

“I would never presume to sing an Aretha Franklin song but in tribute to her tonight, I’ll give it my best shot. She is the greatest singer that ever lived” -Chris Stapleton

Calling her the “greatest singer who ever lived,” Chris Stapleton paid tribute to the late, great Aretha Franklin Saturday night at the Forum in Los Angeles, performing a cover of the Queen of Soul’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”  Continue reading →


Listen to a retrospective of the life and work of Aretha Franklin on World Cafe

Aretha Franklin performs at Radio City Music Hall in February 2012 in New York City. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images | via

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away today at age 76, and in a one-hour special this afternoon, Talia Schlanger and the World Cafe team celebrated her life and work with music and a series of interviews with people who knew her. Continue reading →


Watch Aretha Franklin’s final Philadelphia performance from the Mann Center in 2017

Aretha Franklin performs at the Mann Center on August 26, 2017 | photo via

Last summer, the late great Aretha Franklin gave her final Philadelphia performance in Fairmount Park at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on August 26th. It was her next to last concert overall, followed only by a festival set in the Chicago metro area on September 3rd, and it found the Queen of Soul singing a mix of classic hits and deep cuts.
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R.I.P. Aretha Franklin: Remembering the incredible career of the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin | via

The queen of soul, the dynamic voice that bridged gospel to R&B to rock and beyond, the one and only Aretha Franklin, has passed away today at her family’s home in Detroit. She was 76 years old.

According to news reports in NPR Music and  the Washington Post, Franklin’s representative Gwendolyn Quinn confirmed the death to the Associated Press and said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

Amazingly, Franklin spent 57 of her 76 years in the spotlight – her debut pop record was recorded in 1960 and released in 1961, and she worked and toured until her retirement in 2017. If you further consider that she sang in her father’s church choir from a young age and recorded her first gospel album at age 14, the number of years only expands.

Aretha Franklin is the rare example of someone dedicating their life, wholly and completely, to their art – in her case, her music, and her uplifting, soul-shaking, roof-raising voice. Continue reading →


Jan 22 in Music History: Dr. John releases Gris-Gris the same day Aretha Franklin releases Lady Soul

Dr. John Gris-Gris
1959 – Buddy Holly makes his last recordings alone with an acoustic guitar and tape recorder in his NYC apartment. “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “Crying, Waiting, Hoping,” “That’s What They Say,” “What to Do,” “Learning the Game,” and “That Makes It Tough” would eventually be overdubbed and posthumously released by Coral Records.

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