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Aretha Franklin Reprises Greatest Hits in Final Tour - 2003-04-26


Aretha Franklin, the "Queen Of Soul", is hitting the road one last time. Franklin, 61, recently announced that her final tour will include more than a dozen dates in the U.S. and Canada, but she still plans to perform so-called "one-night only" shows in the future. VOA's Doug Levine tells us more about Aretha Franklin's final tour, titled "Aretha Sings Her Musical History."

If Aretha Franklin sings her entire musical history on tour, fans can expect some long, long nights. But who's complaining? Especially if she reprises such early hits as Chain Of Fools, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Baby, I Love You, and of course her all-time biggest hit, Respect.

Aretha Franklin began getting respect in the choir at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. Like her father, Reverend C. L. Franklin, Aretha had a powerful voice. She was known for belting out moving gospel songs before congregations of 4,000 or more churchgoers.

In 1960, Aretha moved with her grandmother to New York, where she landed a singing contract with Columbia Records. She recorded 10 albums for Columbia. But during that time, Aretha had only one Top-40 hit, Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody. When her Columbia contract expired in 1966, Aretha signed with Atlantic, and had immediate chart success, beginning with I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) a year later.

Aretha Franklin's move to Atlantic Records marked the beginning of a string of pop and R&B hits that continued into the 1980s. In 1987 she became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In addition, she's won 15 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy's Living Legends Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

At the end of her final tour, dubbed "Aretha Sings Her Musical History," Aretha Franklin will release her first new studio album since 1998. The tour debuts at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Canada on June 1.

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