Donna Summer

Aretha Franklin: providing the soundtrack to an era

Aretha Franklin: providing the soundtrack to an era

The death of Aretha Franklin has prompted a deluge of tributes and memories shared by singers, celebrities and pundits who were inspired by the legendary Queen of Soul. As a baby boomer who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, I hear Franklin’s repertoire as the soundtrack accompanying a significant era in pop culture and women’s musical history.

Many people point to Diana Ross and the Supremes as performers who broke ground in entertainment. They were so influential that the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” was based on their careers and relationships. In fact, the character of Effie in that show, who belts out the famous, “And I am Telling You,” torch song, is much more “Aretha” in...

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