5 of the best tributes to Aretha Franklin: Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle and more

24 August 2021, 09:20

5 of the best tributes to Aretha Franklin sang by Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle and more
5 of the best tributes to Aretha Franklin sang by Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle and more. Picture: YouTube
Hannah Lovejoy

By Hannah Lovejoy

Aretha Franklin had an iconic voice and created some of the most poignant and memorable music of all time.

Aretha Franklin influenced many of our favourite powerhouse vocalists thanks to her originality and progressive music. She also nurtured, supported and inspired a new generation of young musical talent.

Read more: When Aretha Franklin performed stunning ‘I Will Always Love You’ in emotional Whitney Houston tribute

Many artists have covered Aretha’s songs and paid tribute to her. Here are five of the best performances dedicated to Aretha, her music and her legacy.

  1. Patti LaBelle

    Patti LaBelle - Ain't No Way - 1993 Essence Awards Aretha Franklin Tribute

    In 1993, music legend Patti LaBelle took a moment to pay tribute to her friend Aretha Franklin. She sang one of Aretha’s greatest hits titled ‘Ain’t No Way’ live at a show. Patti was attending and performing at the Essence Awards.

    During an interview in 2019, Patti spoke about the passing of Aretha and described her as her “hero”.

    “Oh my goodness, one of my better friends in life, I looked up to her. She was like my hero, the best singer in the world, of all time,” Patti explained, while speaking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.

  2. Celine Dion

    Celine Dion - Aretha Franklin Tribute (COMPLETE HD)

    Celine Dion performed an outstanding tribute to Aretha during a special TV event titled Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul. Celine performed Aretha’s version of ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’.

    Read more: Aretha Franklin and Martin Luther King’s extraordinary friendship explored in ‘Respect’ movie

    The event was a one-off special that highlighted the impact of Aretha’s music and career. It was hosted by actor Tyler Perry. There were also appearances from artists such as Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Shirley Caesar.

  3. Ariana Grande and The Roots

    Ariana Grande and The Roots Perform "Natural Woman" in Tribute to Aretha Franklin

    Shortly after Aretha passed away in August 2018, Ariana Grande appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Ariana performed a thoughtful tribute to Aretha along with The Roots. She sang Aretha’s 1968 hit song ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’.

    Ariana also spoke with host Jimmy Fallon about her memories of meeting Aretha and also recalled the one time when Aretha rang her.

    Aretha wanted Ariana to hear one of her family members' music. Ariana suggested that Aretha text it but Aretha didn’t like texting people. Ariana said that a few months later she received a physical copy of the music in a package.

  4. Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Florence Welch and Martina McBride

    Christina Aguilera - Tribute to Aretha Franklin (Live At Grammy Awards 2011)

    In an incredibly rare performance, five massive artists teamed up to perform a medley of Aretha’s greatest hits. This included ‘Think’, ‘Respect’, ‘Spirit in the Dark’ and ‘Sisters Are Doin It For Themselves’.

    The artists performing the tribute were Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Florence Welch and Martina McBride

    Read more: The Story of... 'Respect' by Aretha Franklin

    LL Cool J introduced the performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards and said: “Aretha is at home tonight in Detroit getting better. So, until our Queen comes back to us, some of our most talented musical princesses are coming together to show their shared R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Aretha.”

  5. Alicia Keys

    Alicia Keys: "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman" Live Tribute | Queen Radio | Apple Music

    Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys also covered one of Aretha’s songs during an interview with Nicki Minaj. Alicia sang ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’ and played the song on her keyboard.

    Alicia and Aretha also shared a mentor - music producer Clive Davis helped both women throughout their careers. During one of her vlogs, Alicia spoke with Clive about Aretha and her impact.