On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
51°
Showers
H 54° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    51°
    Current Conditions
    Showers. H 54° L 37°
  • rain-day
    54°
    Today
    Showers. H 54° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    45°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 45° L 25°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National
Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy
Close

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy

The life and legacy of Aretha Franklin

Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin dies: A look back at her legacy

The Queen is gone.

Aretha Franklin, the groundbreaking soul singer whose voice is firmly rooted in music history, died Thursday, Aug. 16, in her longtime home of Detroit. She was 76.

Throughout a career that made songs such as “Think,” “Rock Steady” and Otis Redding’s “Respect” everlasting jukebox smashes, the woman christened by Rolling Stone as the greatest singer of all time accumulated 18 Grammy Awards and 44 nominations.

In 1987, her groundbreaking persona and music were recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when the Queen of Soul became the first female artist to be inducted into the shrine to musical luminaries.

>> Read more trending news 

“Being in Aretha Franklin’s presence is a unique experience,” her longtime friend singer Peabo Bryson said. “You suddenly realize this is the Queen of Soul. I mean that in the fact that she probably has the singular, most important body of work for a female ever. That body of work is second to none. It is beyond peer. That music represented every woman’s struggle…she wasn’t a feminist, but her take on a woman’s plight was fervent. It was concise. It was comprehensive.”

Franklin formally stopped touring in 2003, but she continued to play sporadic dates in the decade-plus following. 

Related: Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years

The singer’s well-documented fear of flying actually stemmed from a rough flight she endured departing Atlanta after an appearance at the Fox Theatre in 1983.

As Franklin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a 1993 interview, “I was leaving Atlanta in a very small plane," she recalls. "A two- engine prop plane, I believe. And it was a very bad flight. I'm very much a ground person now.”

Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
Close

The ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin, dies at 76

Photo Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Fe
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Aretha Franklin performs onstage during the "Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives" Premiere Concert during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Radio City Music Hall on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

In another chat with the AJC in 2003, Franklin recalled some early memories of playing in Atlanta.

“So much of my early career included Atlanta,” she said. “Some of my first tours with Sam (Cooke) and Jackie Wilson  . . . We had some of the best times there. I also came many times with my dad (the late Rev. C. L. Franklin) when I did gospel at the City Auditorium. Then there was the Royal Peacock. Let me tell you that (place) was as hot as it could get! There was another place on Auburn Avenue called Henry's Grill. Mmmm. The absolute best grits and sausage at Henry's Grill, honey.”

Franklin’s career – during which she sold more than 75 million records worldwide - spanned decades, from her 1960 Top 10 R&B hit “Today I Sing the Blues” through a 2007 chart appearance with Fantasia, “Put You Up on Game.” 

In between, she charted with Aretha-fied versions of songs by other greats including Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“[You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman”), the Beatles (“Eleanor Rigby”), Simon & Garfunkel (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”) and The Rolling Stones (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”), among others. 

Related: The best Aretha Franklin songs: A timeline

With her vibrant personality and outfits worthy of musical royalty, she became a staple of the MTV era, winning a new generation of fans with the hits (and videos) “Freeway of Love,” “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” and feisty collaborations with the Eurythmics (“Sisters are Doin’ It For Themselves”) and George Michael (“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”).

For years, Franklin performed under a cloud of unspoken health issues. She frequently canceled concerts and in 2017 announced that it would be her final year of regular touring. 

Related: Aretha Franklin dies at 76

Franklin’s last public performance was at Chicago’s Ravinia festival in September 2017. Shortly afterward, she canceled a slew of shows - including an October date at the Fox Theatre - citing “unfortunate circumstances.”

The powerhouse singer was also scheduled to headline this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, but bowed out a month before her April appearance.

During her last concert in Atlanta, in November 2014 at the Fox Theatre, Franklin wove vague details about her health problems into the gospel song, “Old Landmark.” 

At the end of the song, Franklin shifted into preacher mode, shouting about doctor’s visits, receiving bad news, praying and keeping her faith and getting a clean CAT scan result – all while the music played behind her. 

Read More

News

  • The father of the Florida man accused of killing his wife, three children and family dog, also had a history of violence, according to court records dating back 40 years. Robert Todt was convicted by a jury in 1980 for a murder-to-hire plot. It bears an eerie parallel to this week, when his son, Anthony Todt, told Osceola County detectives that he killed his wife, three children and family dog at their Celebration home, WFTV reported. Alan Rubenstein is now a judge in the same Pennsylvania community where he was an assistant district attorney in 1980, and prosecuted Robert Todt’s case. He said the Todts appeared to have a picturesque life. Neighbors had great things to say about Robert Todt, who was a special education teacher and wrestling coach at a Pennsylvania high school. Then, he was arrested for hiring one of his students to kill his wife, Loretta Todt, on March 19, 1980, at their Bensalem home, People reported. The student, John Chairmonte, pleaded guilty to his involvement, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in 1980. At the time, Chairmonte was characterized as a “burglar and a drug addict,” the newspaper reported in a Dec. 13, 1980, Inquirer story. “Who do you expect Bob Todt to hire to kill his wife, Donny Osmond?' Rubenstein told the newspaper. “A shot was fired right into her skull,” Rubenstein told WFTV on Friday. “It landed through her left eye and blinded her. She should’ve died, but, amazingly, she survived.” What originally seemed like a home invasion didn’t add up, Rubenstein said. “Then we did some background checking on (Robert) Todt,” Rubenstein told WFTV. “We found out about his being engaged to this woman while he was married, about his various girlfriends, the fact that he was having a relationship with one of his students.” When Robert Todt was convicted in 1981, “everybody was wailing, especially his family members and Loretta,” Rubenstein recalled. “The calmest person in the courtroom was Robert Todt.” Robert Todt served about 10 years in prison. Investigators said Anthony Todt was in the home when his mother was shot. A local newspaper reported he woke up to his mother’s screams. Many have described Anthony Todt as a loving father and husband, devoted physical therapist and soccer coach to neighborhood kids. Investigators said they found Anthony Todt’s family’s bodies Monday, but believe Todt killed them weeks earlier. The FBI is also investigating Todt for Medicaid fraud, and records show he was being evicted from their Celebration home.
  • Will moviegoers finally find out what’s on Page 47? That’s a possibility as reports of a “National Treasure 3” movie are beginning to circulate. Chris Bremner, who was tapped to write a “Bad Boys 4” movie, told The Hollywood Reporter he would be writing the screenplay for “National Treasure 3.” “National Treasure,” released in 2004, starred Nicolas Cage an amateur cryptologist Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie pulled in $247 million worldwide for Disney, Variety reported. The cast, including Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel and Armando Riesc, returned for the 2007 sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.' That film made $457 worldwide, Variety reported. The sequel ended with the characters looking at 'Page 47” of a secret book owned by the president of the United States, but no explanation was given. Jerry Bruckheimer is reportedly producing the upcoming film, People reported. Jon Turtletaub directed the first two films. A Disney spokesman did not respond to the magazine’s request for comment.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II announced Saturday in a statement. The Queen said the Sussexes “will continue to maintain their private patronages and associations.” The couple also will no longer formally represent the Queen, the statement said. 'Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family, the Queen wrote. “I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.” The couple will forgo state funding and repay millions of taxpayer dollars used to refurbish their official residence in Windsor, The New York Times reported. The agreement will go into effect later this spring and will be reviewed by the palace after a year, the newspaper reported. “The Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family,” according to the statement from Buckingham Palace. The agreement was made to end the crisis that began 10 days ago when the couple announced plans to step back from their royal duties and spend time in North America, the Times reported.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.'s legal problems might be behind him. The Superdome officer who was slapped on the rear by the Cleveland Browns wide receiver after LSU’s championship victory Monday has decided not to press charges, NOLA.com reported. A video of the encounter has gone viral. The website, citing several anonymous sources, said the 48-year-old officer had signed an affidavit saying he did not want to pursue legal action against Beckham, 27, who is from New Orleans and played for LSU. The New Orleans Police Department had obtained a warrant for Beckham’s arrest on a count of simple battery, WAFB reported. New Orleans police could rescind the warrant or continue to pursue it, NOLA.com reported. According to the website, the officer had ordered LSU players to put out celebratory cigars lit in the locker room. While talking with one player, the lieutenant said he was struck in the rear by a man who was identified as Beckham. The Browns issued a statement Thursday and said Beckham’s representatives “are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation,” WAFB reported. Beckham has already come under scrutiny for reportedly throwing cash at players after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory against Clemson, potentially violating NCAA rules.
  • Professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted a loving tribute to his father, who died Wednesday. Rocky Johnson, who wrestled for 27 years and broke barriers for black wrestlers, died at age 75. Dwayne Johnson posted a long tribute on Instagram, along with a video. “I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar. The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am. The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood. Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect. And my empathy turned to gratitude. Grateful that you gave me life. Grateful you gave me life’s invaluable lessons.” The elder Johnson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008, along with his former father-in-law -- and the Rock’s maternal grandfather -- Peter Maivia. Tony Atlas, who along with Rocky Johnson became the first black tag team champions in WWE history, also posted a tribute on Twitter. “We changed wrestling by paving a new path, knocking down doors while showing what movin’ n groovin’ is all about!” Atlas wrote.
  • Amazon said Saturday it will open another massive warehouse in metro Atlanta that will create 500 new jobs, part of an ongoing courtship of the e-commerce giant that spun out of Georgia’s attempt to land the company’s second headquarters.  The company said Saturday that the 1-million-square-foot facility — roughly the size of an average mall — will be built at the Cubes of Bridgeport site in Newnan. The facility’s employees will pack and ship customer orders for Amazon, the world’s largest retailer. Gov. Brian Kemp said Amazon’s announcement was a testament to Georgia’s “logistics infrastructure, top-ranked workforce and nationally recognized business climate.” The firm did not say when it expected the construction to be complete.  It’s the second major Amazon project for metro Atlanta in the past year. The company announced in July it would build a warehouse in Gwinnett County that would eventually employ 1,000 people, and construction is well underway.  The warehouse is part of a construction spree by Amazon to expand its shipping footprint. The company now operates more than 75 fulfillment centers in North America that employ more than 125,000 staffers, including 3,500 in Georgia.  State economic officials have grown familiar with the company after years of recruiting. Georgia offered billions in incentives and Atlanta made the short list for Amazon’s massive second headquarters before losing out to New York and Northern Virginia in November 2018. Documents released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that the state offered more than $2 billion worth of publicly funded incentives to lure the corporate campus, including an academy to train its employees and an exclusive lounge at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Also in 2018, Amazon picked Nashville, Tennessee, for a new operations office where it plans to hire 5,000 workers. The company later scuttled its New York plans, briefly raising speculation that the Big Apple’s loss could be Georgia’s gain. But economic development officials were also focused on enticing the company to bring smaller projects to Georgia. Amazon operates several other fulfillment centers and warehouses in metro Atlanta, including East Point and Lithia Springs, and in other parts of Georgia, including Macon.  The warehouse project will make Amazon one of Coweta County’s largest private employers, joining other major firms such as Yamaha Motors and PetSmart, which also has a distribution center that employs about 500 people.  It’s not immediately clear what incentives were offered to Amazon to lure the project. An AJC review showed that nearly $20 million in tax breaks and infrastructure improvements were required to secure the Gwinnett project.  The company also did not immediately say how much it will spend on the site. Trae Westmoreland, head of the Coweta County Development Authority, said the “significant capital investment” will strengthen the local economy and help other firms bring in new business.