“Whenever women heard the record, it was like a tidal wave of sororal unity,” the song’s producer, Jerry Wexler, said two decades after Ms. Franklin first declared, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”
Aretha Franklin, widely credited as the Queen of Soul, has died today, according to her publicist. The 76-year-old died in her home from pancreatic cancer. Twenty of her singles topped Billboard’s R&B chart and more than 50 reached the R&B Top 10 over a six-decade recording career during.
According to WaPo:
One of the most celebrated and influential singers in the history of American vernacular song, Ms. Franklin reserved her place on music’s Mount Rushmore in the late 1960s and early 1970s by exploring the secular sweet spot between sultry rhythm-and-blues and the explosive gospel music she’d grown up singing in her father’s Baptist church.
The result was potent and wildly popular, with defining soul anthems that turned Ms. Franklin into a symbol of black pride and women’s liberation.