Aretha! Queen of Soul (2018)
One day after Aretha Franklin (1942–2018) died on August 16, 2018 at the age of seventy-six, PBS aired this twenty-seven minute tribute to her life and legacy. Franklin began as a child singing in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit (her lifelong home), and even traveled all around the country with him: "The church and gospel music were certainly my roots, not to mention the many other good things that came from the church. It's just a feeling you get there that you don't get anywhere else." At the age of eighteen, and as a teen mother with two children, she moved to New York City. That proved to be a bust with merely "turn table hits" and nine commercially unsuccessful albums with Columbia records. All that changed, however, when she switched to Atlantic Records in 1967 and recorded "I Never Loved A Man" in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at Rick Hall's FAME studio. The song rocketed to #1 on the charts, was her first million-seller, and defined her emotive intensity and commanding presence. Her eventual accolades and superlatives are hard to exaggerate: on the cover of Time magazine in 1968, the first woman inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 18 Grammys, singer at MLK's funeral and Obama's inauguration, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Remarkably, when she died, she left an estate worth $80 million and no will.