Aretha Franklin's Top Ten Moments

Aretha Franklin celebrated her 74th birthday on March 25, 2016 .

Born March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha Franklin is the undisputed "Queen of Soul." After beginning her career at the age of 14 and recording for an incredible six decades, Franklin has won 18 Grammy Awards and has sold over 75 million records worldwide. She has 100 entries on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, more than any other female artist. Franklin was the first female inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 3, 1987, and Rolling Stone named her number one on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. She has recorded eight number one albums and 20 number one hits, including five consecutive number one singles  from 1967-1969.

Franklin released Aretha Franklin: The Atlantic Albums Collection on November 13, 2015. The 19 CD box set spans her career in the 1960s and 1970s with Atlantic Records, including her 1968 album, Lady Soul, and the 1976 Sparkle soundtrack produced by Curtis Mayfield. Her latest studio album, The Great Divas Classics CD, was released October 21, 2014. The CD features her versions of songs previously recorded by Alicia Keys ("No One”), Chaka Khan (“I’m Every Woman”), Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Midnight Train to Georgia"), The Supremes (“You Keep Me Hangin’ On”), Gloria Gaynor ("I Will Survive"), Etta James ("At Last"), Barbara Streisand (“People”), Adele (“Rolling In The Deep”), Dinah Washington (“Teach Me Tonight”) and Sinead O'Connor (“Nothing Compares 2 U”).

Her long list of awards includes the Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Medal of Arts, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, Grammy Legend, and Hollywood Walk of Fame. Franklin also performed for the inaugurations of President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, gave a command performance for Queen Elizabeth, and sang for Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia in 2015.

Here is a list of "10 Reasons Why Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul."

01
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September 26, 2015 - Performed for Pope Francis in Philadelphia

Aretha Franklin performing for Pope Francis on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Carl Court/Getty Images

Aretha Franklin performed for Pope Francis during the Festival of Families on September 26, 2015 on  Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

02
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January 20, 2009 - Barack Obama Inauguration

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Aretha Franklin sings during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

On January 20, 2009, Aretha Franklin sang "America" during the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, D,C.

03
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November 9, 2005 - Presidential Medal of Freedom

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Aretha Franklin and President George W. Bush at the Freedom Awards Ceremony at the White House in Washington D.C. on November 9, 2005. Getty Images

On November 9, 2005, President George W. Bush presented Aretha Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in Washington D.C. It is the highest civilian honor which is bestowed for "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

04
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April 14, 1998- Headlines First "VH1 Divas Live"

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Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Celine Dion and Shania Twain performing at the first VH1 Divas Live concert at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, New York on April 14, 1998. WireImage

On April 14, 1998, Aretha Franklin headlined the first VH1 Divas Live special featuring Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Carole King, and Shania Twain at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

05
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February 25, 1998 - Substituted for Pavarotti at the Grammys

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Aretha Franklin. Wire Image

On February 25, 1998, the Queen of Soul also became the Queen of Opera as she gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the Grammys. When Luciano Pavarotti became ill, she substituted for him at the last second and performed the legendary aria "Nessun Dorma" at the 40th Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

In 1998, Franklin was also honored with the National Medal of Arts.

06
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December 4, 1994 - Kennedy Center Honors

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Aretha Franklin. Photo by Tyler Mallory

On December 4, 1994, Aretha Franklin was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She was also honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on March 1, 1994 at the 36th annual Grammy Awards in New York City.

07
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January 17, 1993 - Performed with Michael Jackson at Clinton Inauguration

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Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross stand with a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial January 17, 1993 in Washington, DC. Numerous musicians and performers gathered in front of the Memorial to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. Hulton Archive

On January 17, 1993, Aretha Franklin performed with Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

08
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January 3, 1987 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin and Elton John. Getty Images

On January 3, 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City.

09
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November 17, 1980 - Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth

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Aretha Franklin. Gettty Images
On November, 17, 1980, two international queens met as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, gave a Command Performance for Queen Elizabeth at Royal Albert Hall in London.

10
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February 29, 1968 - Win Her First 2 Grammy Awards

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Aretha Franklin at the Grammy Awards. Getty Images

Aretha Franklin's career took off in 1967 with her first album on Atlantic Records, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, featuring her signature song, "Respect" (composed by Otis Redding). The number one hit earned her first two Grammys at the 10th annual Grammy Awards on February 29, 1968: Best Rhythm and Blues Recording, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Franklin won this category eight consecutive years.

13 days earlier, February 16, 1968 was declared Aretha Franklin Day in Detroit, Michigan. She was honored by longtime family friend Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave her the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Award for Musicians just two months prior to his death.