Andrew Lipovsky/NBCAfter Aerosmith's performance of "Mama Kin" on last Thursday's episode of The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon announced that the band would be performing Monday on the 2018 Video Music Awards. That news has now been officially confirmed by MTV.
But TMZ claims that, according to sources close to Aerosmith, the band will not just perform at the show. Reportedly, Steven Tyler and company will close out the event with a performance of their classic "Walk This Way," the 1977 hit that was famously covered in 1986 by Run-DMC, with some help from Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry.
A TMZ reporter approached most of Aerosmith's members on the street in New York City earlier today and asked them which rapper other than Run-DMC they'd most want to perform "Walk This Way" with. He also asked if they could confirm a rumor that they'd be joined onstage at the VMAs tonight by contemporary rap star Post Malone.
Perry said he wasn't sure who the band will be playing with, adding, "Post is really good, but there's so many great ones out there, it's hard to choose."
Bassist Tom Hamilton said the band would "probably do something completely different" if they remade "Walk This Way." As for the rumor about Post Malone, Hamilton just smiled.
Drummer Joey Kramer said "maybe Post" would be the rapper he'd like to perform with, then said he couldn't confirm whether Aerosmith will be closing the VMAs with Malone.
Regarding his band's performance, Kramer said, "I can tell you that it'll be great, and that we're coming back with a vengeance."
Last week, Aerosmith announced plans for a 2019 Las Vegas residency at the new Park MGM resort.
The MTV VMAs air live from New York City's Radio City Music Hall tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
Don McLean and Roger Daltrey (Lorenzo)An impressive list of music stars joined The Who's Roger Daltrey on Friday at a benefit event called the Backyard Concert 2018, which raised funds for the Daltrey-cofounded Teen Cancer America and UCLA Health. Among the other performers who took part in the show, held in Pacific Palisades, California, were Van Morrison, John Fogerty, KISS singer Paul Stanley, Don McLean, Jewel and U.K. pop superstar Ed Sheeran.
During the invite-only event, McLean teamed up with Sheeran to perform Don's classic hit "Vincent." McLean posted video of the two rehearsing the song on his Instagram page.
"I have been aware of the philanthropic work of Roger Daltrey for many years, and that motivated me to participate," said McLean in a statement. "I enjoyed all the music very much, and Ed Sheeran is very delightful to know and work with. Van Morrison put on a beautiful, swinging show…Everyone gave their best, and it was a stellar musical evening that raised money for a good cause."
The concert was hosted by director Judd Apatow. Besides the musical performances, there also was an auction of rare music memorabilia and art, presided over by Howie Mandel. Among the items that went on the block was a rare acoustic guitar autographed by 75 music legends, including Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Brian May, Bruce Springsteen, McLean, Donovan, Brian Wilson, Keith Richards, Peter Frampton, Graham Nash and Don Everly. It sold for $80,000.
Another collectible auctioned was a refurbished pinball machine created in conjunction with the 1975 film adaptation of The Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy, signed by members of the band and stars of the film, including Elton John, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson and Ann-Margret. That fetched $28,000.
Friday's concert and auction raised over $3.5 million for the charities.
Rebecca Sapp/WireImageFounding Jefferson Airplane singer Marty Balin has launched a medical malpractice lawsuit against a New York City hospital, claiming that poor care following a March 2016 heart operation has left him with major health issues.
The suit, filed in a federal court Thursday against Mount Sinai Beth Israel and several doctors and nurses employed by the facility, alleges that after Balin underwent successful open-heart surgery, a triple-bypass and a valve replacement, his negligent treatment in an intensive-care unit led to a botched tracheotomy. That, in turn, left him with a paralyzed vocal cord and caused him to lose half his tongue.
The lawsuit also claims that the hospital was understaffed, and the staff's negligence resulted in Balin's left thumb becoming necrotic, leading to its amputation. The suit further alleges that Marty suffered kidney damage and developed bedsores while under the hospital's care.
The lawsuit charges that because the hospital branch was in the process of closing, doctors caring for Balin should have moved him to a facility where the singer could have been looked after properly. According to the suit, by the time he left the hospital, Marty "had become totally disabled and has never recovered properly."
The suit maintains that Balin's "ability to play and sing in a band has been destroyed" and he's been unable to care for his special-needs daughter, who suffers from spina bifida.
According to the New York Post, the hospital declined to comment about Balin's case because of pending litigation, but said in a statement, "Our highest priority is delivering the highest level of compassionate care to our patients."
In a recent interview with the Marin Independent Journal, Balin talked about his recovery from heart surgery, while reporting that he was "doing good now" and was "finishing two new albums."
Credit: Brantley GutierrezFoo Fighters are launching a special pop-up shop to celebrate the upcoming second edition of the band's CalJam festival. It'll be open August 26 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT at the Palladium in Los Angeles.
The pop-up will feature exclusive merch and a performance from Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins' cover band Chevy Metal. Admission to the event is free.
CalJam 18 will be held October 5 and 6 at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino, California, with the main event taking place on the 6th. Along with a Foos heradlinin performance, the October 6 lineup will include Iggy Pop with Post Pop Depression, Tenacious D,Garbage, Greta Van Fleet, Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra. Billy Idol will headline the first day of the fest.
Asylum/Warner Music GroupNo doubt The Eagles have a "Peaceful Easy Feeling" today: They can now boast that they're again responsible for the best-selling album of all time.
The Recording Industry Association of America has just certified the band's 1976 album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 for sales and streams of more than 38 million copies.The album now overtakes Michael Jackson's Thriller for the title of all-time best-seller.
The two albums have traded off that title for years, but as recently as 2017, Thriller was the top seller, with some 33 million copies sold. Now, The Eagles have reclaimed the title, with Thriller slipping to #2.
Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 features all of the band's biggest early hits, from "Take It Easy," "One of these Nights" and "Witchy Woman" to "Lyin' Eyes," "Desperado," "Already Gone" and "Take It to the Limit."
But wait -- there's more. The Eagles' equally legendary album Hotel California, also released in 1976, has been certified for sales and streams of more than 26 million copies, making it the third best-selling album of all time.
In a statement, Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, said, "Congratulations to the Eagles, who now claim the jaw-dropping feat of writing and recording two of the top three albums in music history. Both of these transcendent albums have impressively stood the test of time, only gaining more currency and popularity as the years have passed, much like the Eagles themselves."
The Eagles' current lineup of Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Deacon Frey -- son of the late founding member Glenn Frey -- and Vince Gill, are on tour through October, wrapping up their current tour on October 20 in Cleveland.
RankinRod Stewart made headlines earlier this year when he said that anyone who announces a "retirement" or "final" tour -- like his old pal Elton John -- is doing so just for a cash grab. Now, Rod says he feels badly about his comments.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Rod says, "I was a bit unfair to Elton on a drunk night on television in New York, when I spitefully said, 'I think it's bang out of order that you announce a farewell tour every time, and it stinks of grabbing money.'"
He adds, "I wish I hadn't said it. I think [Elton's] very upset with me. [My wife] Penny keeps saying, 'Send him an apology.' So I should, really."
Speaking of his wife Penny, she and Rod have two children, 12-year-old Alastair and seven-year-old Aiden. Rod says of Aiden, "He's been dressing up as a lady and I wanted to buy him a nice outfit for Christmas, but Pen said, 'Don't encourage him.' I've seen lots of kids dress up as girls when they're little, it doesn't mean anything. And anyway, if he's gay, so what? We need gay men in the world."
And the interview ends with this little tidbit: The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer evidently regrets passing up the chance on an investment that would have made him a fortune.
"I was asked to invest in Starbucks about 20 years ago and I turned it down," he claims. "I was saying, 'Who is going to want to drink coffee all day? It'll never happen.' I was a cup of tea man. Now they're on every street corner. I must have lost millions."
Still, he admits, "I've got more money than I can spend. I'm not complaining at all."
ABC/Craig SjodinPearl Jam's show at Chicago's Wrigley Field Saturday honored a hometown hero and a music legend.
During the concert, Eddie Vedderinvited former NBA player Dennis Rodman on stage before a performance of his solo song, "Sleeping By Myself." The Chicago Bulls icon brought out Vedder's ukulele and thanked the hometown crowd before leaving the stage.
Credit: Mads PerchWe're sending out a whole lotta love to Robert Plant, who celebrates his 70th birthday today. While the founding Led Zeppelin frontman Plant hasn't performed live with his old band mates since their memorable London reunion concert in December 2007, the singer remains a very active touring and recording artist.
Plant released his latest solo album, Carry Fire, in October 2017 and has been busy promoting the record by touring with his current backing band, The Sensational Space Shifters.
Plant first and foremost will always be known for his contributions to Led Zeppelin, the band that helped define hard rock and heavy metal. His banshee wail and seductive stage moves have inspired and influenced countless other singers, from Whitesnake's David Coverdale to Josh Kiszka of the up-and-coming hard-rockers Greta Van Fleet. The music he made with the band continues to be the soundtrack to fans' lives worldwide.
After Led Zeppelin's 1980 breakup following the death of drummer John Bonham, Plant launched a successful solo career, and also released a pair of collaborative albums with Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page during the 1990s.
Among the highlights of Plant's post-Led Zeppelin career, though, was his 2007 duets album with bluegrass star Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, which won an impressive five Grammy Awards.
Plant will launch a new U.S. trek with The Sensational Space Shifters next month. The tour gets underway with a September 9 headlining performance at the 2018 LouFest in St. Louis and is mapped out through an October 1 show in Austin, Texas.
Robert also is expected to take part in Led Zeppelin's 50th anniversary celebrations this fall, but don't hold get your hopes up for another reunion performance -- Plant's been adamant about not playing again with his old band mates.
Gus Stewart/RedfernsJust call him Slowhand Santa: Eric Clapton is set to release Christmas album.
Billboard reports Happy Xmas will arrive October 12, and will feature classic holiday songs as reworked by the legendary guitarist.
Happy Xmas will also contain an original Clapton Christmas tune called "For Love on Christmas Day."
Clapton tells Billboard, "I had in my head that these holiday songs could be done with a slight blues tinge, and I started to figure out how to play the blues lines in between the vocals."
He reveals that, once he nailed the guitar parts, "one of the most identifiable songs on the album, the one that became the foundational style, is 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.'"
One of the songs, Clapton's take on "Jingle Bells," is dedicated to the memory of the late superstar deejay Avicii, who died earlier this year. According to Billboard, Clapton was a great admirer of his.
Happy Xmas' cover features a color illustration of Santa Claus, drawn by Eric himself.
Preorders are being taken now for a $60 deluxe edition boxed set, which includes the CD, a 7-inch picture flexi-vinyl, a USB copy of the album that doubles as a Santa-shaped Christmas ornament, and a dog-shaped Christmas ornament. You can check out the deluxe edition at SurfDog.com
Here is the Happy Xmas track listing:
"White Christmas" "Away in a Manger (Once in Royal David's City)" "For Love on Christmas Day" "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday" "Christmas Tears" "Home for the Holidays" "Jingle Bells (In Memory of Avicii)" "Christmas in My Hometown" "It's Christmas" "Sentimental Moments" "Lonesome Christmas" "Silent Night" "Merry Christmas Baby" "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
Scott StrebleCan't make it to Connecticut for Farm Aid 2018? No problem. AXS-TV is once again making it easy to catch the "music with a mission" event, by broadcasting this year's show live from Hartford on Saturday, September 22.
In Farm Aid tradition, this year's show features sets from organizer and founder Willie Nelson, as well as appearances by Farm Aid board members Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. Country stars Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves, plus many others, are also slated to perform, with all artists donating their appearance fees to the cause.
The Farm Aid broadcast caps off an AXS Saturday Stack dedicated to the Farm Aid organizers, beginning at noon ET with three, count 'em, three segments of Dan Rather's The Big Interview, featuring Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp.
At 3 p.m. ET, AXS will broadcast a 90-minute Mellencamp concert from Chicago, called Plain Spoken: John Mellencamp, which features "Pink Houses," "Cherry Bomb," and "Small Town," among others.
Next up, at 4:30 p.m. ET, a Willie Nelson: Soundstage show, which AXS promises will deliver "an intimate, career-spanning set."
Dave Matthews' Weekend On the Rocks will air at 5:30 p.m. ET and will include selections from the DMB's four-day run at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2005.
Farm Aid 2018 itself will air live from the XFINITY Theater in Hartford, CT, will air from 7 p.m. to midnight ET on Saturday, September 22.
ABC/Richard CartwrightRoger Daltrey is a rare rock star: He's been married for almost fifty years and has never had a drug problem. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the Who frontman says a couple of simple rules have kept him on the straight-and-narrow.
The singer married his wife, Heather Taylor, in 1971. Though he admits "[it's] not easy," he thinks his marriage "survived because I was always honest with her [about] whatever had gone on during the tour."
Daltrey says he wasted no time getting "on the first bloody plane back to her" after each Who tour, adds that he "worship[s] the ground she walk[s] on."
As for that other big rock star cliche -- drugs and rehab -- Roger says his clean living was a lucky combination of preference and necessity.
"I had to [stay clean], so I could keep the others in line," he says, and then jokes, "You try getting three people on acid from the Monterey Pop Festival all the way to London!"
The singer also notes that he saw "so many people...[become] complete a**holes" on drugs, and realized he never wanted that to happen to him.
Daltrey also believes that his relatively drug-free life was due to his desire to preserve his voice, which, after all, is his instrument.
Daltrey, who'll release his autobiography in October, wraps a two-month solo tour tomorrow night in Indio, CA. The Who is currently on a break, but Daltrey promises, "We haven't ever thought of [retiring]."
However, Roger says he would like to retire one particular song from the Who's set: "Won't Get Fooled Again."
"That’s the only song I’m bloody bored s**tless with. I don’t know why, but I’m being honest," he says.
Credit: Gene KirklandSlash has unleashed a new song called "Mind Your Manners" with his band Myles Kennedy & the Conspirators. The track is available now for digital download.
"Mind Your Manners" will appear on the group's upcoming album Living the Dream, which also features the lead single "Driving Rain." The new record, the follow-up to 2014's World of Fire, will arrive on September 21.
Slash and company will hit the road on a U.S. headlining tour in support of Living the Dream beginning September 13 in Los Angeles.
Andrew Lipovsky/NBCJimmy Fallon may have let "Sweet Emotion" take over last night when Aerosmith rocked The Tonight Show. At the end of their high-energy performance of "Mama Kin," Fallon outro'ed the band, plugged their upcoming Las Vegas residency, and then blurted, "Catch them performing Monday on the VMAs!"
That information hasn't been reported anywhere else. If that turns out to be the case, Aerosmith will be the hardest rockers on the bill....at least so far. The pop and hip-hop heavy broadcast is set to include Ariana Grande, Panic! At the Disco, and rappers Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and Post Malone, among others.
The MTV VMAs will air live from New York City's Radio City Music Hall on Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Credit: RankinForget about selling albums and t-shirts: Rod Stewart is now auctioning off his furniture.
The British paper The Guardian reports that on September 11, a collection of Stewart's furnishings are going on the auction block. Among the more than 60 lots: gilt and bronze side tables, a teak armchair with a faux leopard print cushion, figurines, 19th century mirrors and bronze wall sconces.
The items are reportedly from Rod's mansion in Essex, U.K., which he's put on the market. The auction director says in a statement, "We all have a good sort-out once in a while and that is the case with Sir Rod Stewart in this instance. He has accumulated many things over his lifetime and has decided now is the time to have a bit of a clear-out."
The director adds, "He lives locally to us and we are selling items of his including settees, lighting and furniture. The items are all very glitzy and glamorous and there is lots of gold – all very rock 'n' roll.”
You can check out photos of some of the items over at the BBC's website.
Kinks frontman Ray Davies revealed in recent interviews that he'd like to get his old band back together. Now the singer/songwriter tells BBC Radio 2 that he's still hoping to organize a reunion, but says it's not up to him.
"It's down to Dave [Davies], the guitar player, my brother, and Mick Avory, the drummer," Ray explained during a chat with radio host Chris Evans. "They haven't been in the same room since 2005. So, the first thing's to get them in the room together."
Tensions between Dave and Mick date back to the early years of The Kinks, and their conflicts reportedly led to Avory exiting the band in 1984.
Ray added about his attempts to get the two musicians to commit to a reunion, "It's like negotiations for the United Nations. If I can get them to talk it would be great."
Meanwhile, the 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer said that the "most important thing" for him with regard to a Kinks reunion would be for the band to create new original music.
"The Kinks have got a great legacy and everything, but to me it's always about making new music," he maintained. "If the music's good anything could happen."
Ray added that he always has been open about collaborating with his Kinks band mates again, "because they're great players."
Referencing the just-announced expanded reissue of the group's 1968 album The Village Green Preservation Society, Davies notes, "Anyone listening to…this new compilation will see it's a special band and they should make more music."
The reissue will be released in multiple configurations on October 26. Ray also released a new solo album, Our Country: Americana Act II, in June.
Credit: Justin BoruckiJudas Priest will headline the first-ever South American edition of Slipknot's Knotfest. The masked metallers have announced the inaugural Knotfest Colombia, which will be held on October 26 in Colombian capital of Bogota.
The rest of the festival's lineup includes litany of metal bands, among them Helloween, Kreator and Arch Enemy. For more info, visit KnotfestColombia.com.
The U.S. edition of Knotfest is held in San Bernardino, California. The festival also has been held in Mexico and Japan.
The program, which airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC, also will features guest appearances by pop superstar Ariana Grande and comic actor Nick Kroll.
Aerosmith's Tonight Show performance comes a day after the band's appearance on NBC's Today show, during which the rock legends announced plans for a Las Vegas residency next year at the Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort.
"We want to bring a show in there that we really can't do when we're on the road on a regular tour," guitarist Joe Perry explained to Today host Savannah Guthrie. "So we want to bring a show that still has Aerosmith and all the guts of Aerosmith but has a whole other element to it than we've ever been able to do before."
Singer Steven Tyler added, "We're gonna keep it raw. We're gonna keep it who we are. There's gonna be no changes…It's gonna be beautiful and rocked out, and we're gonna get a chance to use some special effects that haven't been used before."
After the interview, Aerosmith played two of their classic tunes -- "Sweet Emotion" and "Love in an Elevator" -- to the crowds gathered in New York City's Rockefeller Plaza. You can watch both performances on Today.com.
Aerosmith's "Deuces Are Wild" residency opens in Las Vegas April 6, 2019 and includes 18 performances -- nine in April, five in June and four in July.
Credit: William ClaxtonAfter visiting Europe earlier in the year, Bob Dylan is now in the middle of a tour of the Far East, Australia and New Zealand -- but come the fall, he'll be bringing his show back to the U.S.
The folk-rock legend's stateside tour kicks off October 4 in Phoenix, Arizona, and is mapped out through a November 17 concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tickets for all the shows are available now, except for the Atlantic City concert, which goes on sale to the public starting this Friday, August 17.
Bob's next show takes place Saturday in Sydney, Australia, and his Down Under trek wraps up August 28, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
10/4 -- Phoenix, AZ, Comerica Theatre 10/5 -- Tucson, AZ, Tucson Music Hall 10/7 -- Albuquerque, NM, Kiva Auditorium 10/9 -- Midland, TX, Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center 10/10 -- Irving, TX, The Pavilion at the Toyota Music Factory 10/12 -- Tulsa, OK, River Spirit Casino Resort 10/13 -- Thackerville, OK, WinStar World Casino and Resort 10/14 -- Sugar Land, TX, Smart Financial Centre 10/16 -- Lafayette, LA, Heymann Center 10/17 -- Mobile, AL, Mobile Saenger Theatre 10/19 -- St. Augustine, FL, St. Augustine Amphitheatre 10/20 -- Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall 10/21 -- Sarasota, FL, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall 10/23 -- Fort Myers, FL, Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall 10/24 -- Fort Lauderdale, FL, Broward Center for the Performing Arts 10/26 -- Orlando, FL, Walt Disney Theater - Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 10/27 -- Macon, GA, Macon City Auditorium 10/28 -- Chattanooga, TN, Tivoli Theatre 10/30 -- Huntsville, AL, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall - Von Braun Center 10/31 -- Knoxville, TN, Tennessee Theatre 11/2 -- Asheville, NC, Thomas Wolfe Auditorium 11/3 -- Durham, NC, Durham Performing Arts Center 11/4 -- North Charleston, SC, North Charleston Performing Arts Center 11/6 -- Savannah, GA, Johnny Mercer Theatre 11/7 -- Augusta, GA, The Bell Auditorium 11/9 -- Charlotte, NC, Ovens Auditorium 11/10 -- Roanoke, VA, Berglund Performing Arts Theatre 11/11 -- Richmond, KY, EKU Center for the Arts 11/17 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Hard Rock Hotel
Courtesy of Wayne Karamer; Michael LavineIn June, Soundgarden's Kim Thayil and Matt Cameron played together on stage for the first time since Chris Cornell's death last year. The two performed as part of the lineup for MC50, a band organized to celebrate the 50th anniversary of legendary proto-punk band MC5.
Speaking with ABC Radio, MC5 co-founder and lead guitarst Wayne Kramer, who put MC50 together, describes what it was like to see the two Soundgarden band mates reunite.
"It was a heartfelt thing to see them play together and enjoy playing and...incorporate who they are and what their feelings were, and know that it's gonna be OK," Kramer says.
Having been involved with rock music for half a century, Kramer knows how it feels when a band mate dies.
"It's a terrible thing to lose a band mate, especially in the prime of their life," he says. "I know I've lost a few of them now, and it's tough. It's the reality, the ultimate reality, for all of us. It's part of the deal, and as painful as it is, it's something that we're all gonna experience."
Thayil will return to the MC50 lineup for the band's upcoming U.S. tour, which begins September 5 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Kramer feels Thayil is a great fit for the group, especially due to his ability learn the "principles" and "concepts" of the songs.
"A lot of things that the MC5 does and the MC50 does is improvisational, where we have a structure, the song has a structure, but there are whole sections that are unstructured, and they have to be different every night," Kramer says.
Aretha Franklin, the pastor's daughter who became the undisputed Queen of Soul over a career that spanned more than five decades, has died of advanced pancreatic cancer, ABC News has confirmed.
"It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul," read a statement from her rep.
"Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."
“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 love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds," the statement continued.
“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
Franklin's health had been a concern for the past few years, causing a spate of concert cancellations. In 2017, she appeared alarmingly thin but claimed it was a side effect of an unspecified medication. After announcing she was retiring from the road in 2017, Franklin still scheduled shows for 2018 but in March, she was ordered by her doctors to cancel all shows and rest for two months. Despite rumors of serious health problems, she's never publicly spoken about her ailments.
Merely saying that Franklin was one of the greatest vocalists of all time hardly seems adequate to describe her influence and impact -- her voice was officially declared a natural resource by her home state of Michigan. In 2015, President Barack Obama said of Franklin: "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll -- the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope."
Franklin started her music career early, singing gospel music as a child at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father, C.L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she signed to Columbia Records and experienced some success, especially on the R&B charts. But it wasn't until 1967, when she signed to Atlantic Records, that her career really took off.
For Atlantic, Franklin recorded-now classics "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," which helped her cross over to the pop charts. She won her first Grammy in 1968, the same year she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. She'd eventually go on to win a total of 20 Grammys, including special Grammys awarded outside of competition, and chart more than 73 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
Franklin was also part of the civil rights movement of the sixties and has been called "the voice of Black America." Having met Martin Luther King Jr. through her father, himself a noted civil rights leader, she sang at events with Dr. King and her signature hit, "Respect," became a civil rights anthem. When King was assassinated in 1968, Franklin performed "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at his funeral.
Aretha's hits continued through the '70s but she left Atlantic records in 1979, signing to Clive Davis' label, Arista, in 1980. That same year, she made her unforgettable appearance as a waitress in The Blues Brothers. Her 1982 album, Jump to It, returned her to the pop charts for the first time in six years. She remained with Arista for more than 20 years, racking up hits like "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Freeway of Love" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." In 1987, she was the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
During this time, Aretha also started recording duets with younger artists, including Eurythmics, Whitney Houston, Michael McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Elton John and George Michael, the latter with whom she scored the 1987 #1 smash duet "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me."
In 1994, Franklin received the Kennedy Center Honors, at the time the youngest person to be so honored. That same year, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among countless other awards.
While Franklin's musical output covered rock, soul, pop, R&B and gospel, in 1998 she proved she really could sing anything by belting out the operatic aria "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammy Awards, filling in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti.
Over the past 15 years, Franklin performed at a number of high-profile events. In 2006, she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XL in Detroit with Aaron Neville and Dr. John. She performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inauguration, where her fanciful hat received nearly as much attention as her vocal performance.
Franklin continued to release albums throughout the 2000s, including a 2014 album that featured her singing songs by other female artists including Adele, Barbra Streisand and Alicia Keys. Her version of "Rolling in the Deep" gave her her 100th charted song on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Recently, Franklin had spoken of an album she'd been working on with Stevie Wonder, and early in 2018, it was announced that Jennifer Hudson would portray her in a biopic.