The history of African American music has been characterized by a mixture among various forms of music. Country blues, urban blues, New Orleans Jazz, Bebop, big-band jazz, and rhythm and blues, have all influenced each other profoundly. These influences flowed back and forth among the various forms. But, black gospel music had only a very limited effect on popular styles, until a few church-trained artists, such as Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, began to incorporate gospel styling into their popular work. The result is usually described as "soul music," a mix of blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel voices. But, if Ray Charles was one of the "originators" of soul music, "Aretha Franklin reshaped it," by bringing even more of her gospel background to bear on secular love songs (Wade and Picardie 27). By combining popular elements with her stunning voice, her great musicianship, and the feeling for a song that she learned in church, Aretha became one of the greatest soul singers to ever live.
Aretha Franklin is a well-known pop, R&B, and gospel singer. She has been nicknamed “The Queen of Soul” and is an internationally known artist and a symbol of pride in the African American community. Her popularity soared in 1967 when she released an album containing songs “I Never Loved a Man”, “Respect”, and “Baby I Love You.” Throughout her career she has achieved fifteen Grammy Awards, Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Legend Awards, and many Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Time magazine chose her as one of the most influential artists and entertainers of the 20th century. She sang at Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral and at former President Bill Clinton’s inaugural party. Although she has all these accomplishments and awards there are other reasons that have driven Franklin to fame and landed her on the front cover of Time magazine on June 28, 1968. The...
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