Remembering Aretha Franklin With the Queen of Soul's 10 Biggest Hits

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All around the world, fans are singing some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the late queen of soul. 

Aretha Franklin, the 18-time Grammy-winning songstress with four-octave pipes, died Thursday morning following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76 years old. 

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family,” the legend’s family said in a statement issued by Franklin’s publicist. 

While there may not be the perfect words to express how the star’s beloved family, friends, colleagues, admirers and fans are feeling today, they do have the words to her classic hits to honor her memory and carry on her legacy. 


Aretha Franklin: A Life in Pictures

After all, the star had plenty of them. With 44 Grammy nominations over all and more than 40 albums to her name in the course of her decades-long career, the Detroit choir soloist grew up into a powerhouse unrestricted by genre or time. 

As the Kennedy Center once said of Franklin, “Her greatest achievement, perhaps, has been the ability to break down boundaries, to appeal to this country’s vast range of musical tastes.”

In her honor, here’s a look back at ten of her unforgettable tracks: 


Aretha Franklin, “Queen of Soul,” Dead at 76


When the star redid Otis Redding’s “Respect” in 1967, her life would never be the same again. She shot to international stardom as the track became a civil rights and feminist anthem. Not only was it her first number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it also garnered her her first Grammy nomination and win. It arguably remains her most famous song of all time. 

“I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)”

It wasn’t until 1987 that Franklin, decades into her music career, reached the top of the Hot 100 again with the iconic George Michaelduet. It was also her highest hit on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart in the second spot. 

“Chain of Fools”

Ranked among the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” the Grammy-winning track was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. 

“Spanish Harlem”

When Franklin released a rendition of Ben E. King‘s 1960 track, she outperformed the original by peaking at number two on the charts. 

“I Say a Little Prayer”

The track spent 10 weeks on the Hot 100 chart in 1968. 


The feminist anthem peaked at number seven on the charts, garnering Franklin her seventh top ten hit in the United States. 


“Call Me/Son of a Preacher Man

While Franklin passed the track to Dusty Springfield in 1968, the late icon released her own version in 1970, which spent 12 weeks on the Hot 100 chart. 

“Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”

The 1974 hit spent 21 weeks on the chart and peaked at number three. 

“A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel)”

Once again, the star had another top ten hit on her hands when she released track, penned partly by Carole King, in 1967. The ballad has since become synonymous with the star. 

“Baby I Love You”

The 1967 hit peaked at number four on the Hot 100 chart and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs. The track was also famously featured in the Oscar-nominated film, Goodfellas

“Freeway of Love”

The 1985 song was among the star’s most successful, winning a Grammy Award and charting at number three on the Hot 100. 

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