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24 August 2021, 09:20
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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’.
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.”
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.