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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Queen of Soul: 1942-2018

Queen of Soul: 1942-2018

        Aretha Franklin, universally acclaimed as the “Queen of Soul” and one of America’s greatest singers in any style, died on Thursday at her home in Detroit. She was 76.

"Aretha Franklin, Jazz & Blues portfolio, 1968." Dye transfer print by Lee Friedlander. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
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I Say a Little Prayer

I’ve spent the last few days listening to many hours of Aretha Franklin. I think if I had to pick my all-time fave, the one that takes me back to the summer of 1968, to being 10 years old, trying to get a sense of what the adult world of longing and devotion might be, it would be this song. I feel a shiver in my spine and my eyes feel hot every time I hear it, even now, especially now, half a century after the first time I heard it.

Soul Survivor

Fashion sense + musical taste

Just about everyone remembers the hat Aretha wore at the Obama inauguration in 2009. Equally significant was what she sang: the nineteenth century anthem "My Country 'Tis of Thee" aka "America."

Aretha, My Queen

In a 70-year lifetime packed with music, I've had my heart stopped maybe a half dozen times. Two of those times involve Aretha: "Nessun Dorma" and "Natural Woman." Bless her memory.

Three-octave range

My favorites are Respect and Natural Woman.

Whew! She had a powerful, three-octave range. Thank heaven for her recordings. She will never be forgotten.

The Blues Brothers movie

I have never been so riveted to a movie screen as I was when she sang 'Think' to Matt Guitar Murphy [RIP].

At that very moment, she changed the way I listen to music.

Thank you Aretha for all the sweet sounds.

Queen and King

Aretha Franklin, "Queen of Soul," passes away on August 16, 2018, exactly 41 years after the death of Elvis Presley, "The King of Rock 'n' Roll". I remember that day too.


Aretha is one of the few singers I've ever heard who could blow your butt right out of the seat in any number of genres. I'm sure if she wanted to tackle Swedish Death Metal, she'd have killed that too. If I had to list her Top 5 best songs, which is a Herculean task because there are so many to choose from, this is what I'd settle on —

1. Chain of Fools
2. Think
3. I Say a Little Prayer
4. Natural Woman
5. Rock Steady

I could fill out the rest of the Top 10 with Skylark, Respect, Since You've Been Gone, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You). You could probably fill out a Top 50 list, if you wanted. We'll never hear the likes of that voice ever again.


What a talent. I put her and Ray Charles on a pedestal.

Their ability to sing in their styles and never wander off pitch has me shaking my head in appreciation.

Bless you, Aretha. And thanks!

Queen Aretha

A nice retrospective from WQXR (New York), written just days ago.

WQXR played a tape today of her singing "Nessun Dorma", standing in for the ailing Luciano Pavarotti:

She will be missed.

Three favorites

Everyone will have their own list of favorites, here's mine:

Oh Me Oh My (I'm a Fool For You Baby)
Chain Of Fools
Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)

Thank you for your artistry, Aretha.

The Queen indeed

Great picture of my favorite female recording artist. And she was never better than she was around this time, the late 60s. RIP

I was just listening to her today

One of the best singers in my book. Not a DIVA, no matter what anyone says. Because DIVA means SPOILED. Even though she deserved to be.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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