Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Aretha Franklin (1942-Present)

The Queen of Soul, best known for demanding R-E-S-P-E-C-T, is still, at 68, a powerhouse vocalist, pianist and songwriter. Aretha Franklin was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987; she performed at President Barack Obama's Inauguration; and she holds the record for most Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, with 11. Perhaps most notably, she's a self-taught piano prodigy who recorded her first album at the age of 14. What sets Franklin apart from her contemporaries is the passion she puts forth in her music; as TIME put it in 1968, "This is why her admirers call her Lady Soul."