Aretha Franklin Through the Years

Class Act

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With both an album and a hit single under her belt in 1961, 19-year-old Aretha Franklin was well on her way to stardom.

Captions by Abdul Ali

Respect From the Academy

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Franklin, holding up a Grammy in 1970, is one of the artists most honored at the Grammy Awards. To date, she's racked up 18 of the statuettes.

Mahalia Jackson's Memorial Service

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The Queen of Soul pays her respects at the 1972 memorial service for Mahalia Jackson, who was widely regarded as the Queen of Gospel.

Introspective Performer

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To stay in the music business as long as Aretha Franklin has, you occasionally have to look inward for inspiration. Here she checks her makeup in her dressing room before a November 1975 performance.

Family Matters

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Franklin poses with her then-husband, actor Glynn Turman, and son Kecalf in 1978.

Trailblazer

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Over the course of her career, Aretha Franklin has earned a host of accolades. She poses here at the 1983 American Music Awards; four years later she would become the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A Fox in Fur

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Franklin enjoys all the luxuries of a star — from keeping company with heads of state to donning a luxurious fur coat on the streets of Washington, D.C., in January 1993.

Natural Woman

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Off and on the stage, Aretha Franklin, seen here at a June 20, 1994, press conference, has her audience eating out of the palm of her hand. Franklin is no stranger to dealing with the press.

Awe Inspiring

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Bill Clinton was especially fond of Aretha Franklin during his presidency, and she sang before him many times. In this June 1994 photo, he thanks her for her performance.

Freedom Fighter

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Franklin is honored on Nov. 25, 2005, by President George W. Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her illustrious career. Previous recipients include Marian Anderson, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

Head of the Class

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Aretha Franklin has received numerous honorary doctorates in her career, which has spanned almost five decades. On May 13, 2006, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of music at the Berklee College of Music commencement in Boston.

Franklin as Fashionista?

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Franklin is known for her bold and unique fashion taste as well as her musical genius. She wore this billowing yellow gown to the 30th annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2, 2007.

Hats Off

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A natural treasure, Aretha Franklin performed at the inaugurations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Here she sings "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)" at Obama's Jan. 20, 2009, swearing-in. Her signature hat is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

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