Listen to a retrospective of the life and work of Aretha Franklin on World Cafe
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away today at age 76, and in a one-hour special this afternoon, Talia Schlanger and the World Cafe team celebrated her life and work with music and a series of interviews with people who knew her.
Detroit resident and gospel music professor Dr. Deborah Pollard shared what Franklin meant to the city of Detroit and how her upbringing in the gospel church influenced the music she made. NPR Music Senior Director Lauren Onkey talked about touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Franklin and her family and watching the legend deliver an impromptu performance on stage during the Museum’s American Music Masters tribute in 2011. NPR Music critic Ann Powers reflected on Franklin’s place in music history, and Music Inside Out host Gwen Thompkins talked about what “Respect” meant to women, to the civil rights movement and to Franklin herself.
Beyond those interviews, the Cafe mixed in an assortment of Aretha Franklin’s incredible music. Listen to the hour-long special below.