Aretha Franklin, sometimes known as the “Queen of Soul,” was an American singer, songwriter, and musician.
At the time of her death in 2018, Aretha Franklin’s net worth was $80 million USD. The worth of her image, song repertoire, and royalty stream are all included in this figure.
Aretha Franklin’s popular songs included “Respect,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” and “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You).” She is still one of the most successful performers of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Clarence LaVaughn “C. L.” Franklin, her father, was a Baptist pastor and circuit preacher, and her mother, Barbara (née Siggers), was a soprano and pianist.
She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in the family house at 406 Lucy Avenue.
Franklin had a large family; her parents had four children together, plus children from each of their previous marriages. Franklin’s whole family relocated to Buffalo, New York, when she was three years old, before eventually settling in Detroit.
Her father became the pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit after her mother died.
Franklin’s parents had a troubled marriage, owing mostly to her father’s many affairs, and they divorced in 1948. Aretha’s mother went back to Buffalo with Aretha’s half-brother, Vaughn, although she continued to see her other children in Detroit on a regular basis. She died of a heart attack in 1952, though.
Franklin and her siblings were therefore nurtured by a number of neighborhood women, including their grandmother. Franklin was a sophomore at Northern High School in Detroit when she dropped out.
Franklin started singing in her father’s church at a young age, and when she was twelve years old, he began managing her.
He’d take her on his “gospel caravan” trips, where she’d sing in different churches along the way, and he’d also helped her secure her first recording contract with J.V.B. Records.
“Never Grow Old,” her debut song for J.V.B. Records, was released in 1956, followed by a string of singles and the album “Spirituals” the following year (1956). She continued to sing and perform gospel music, spending her summers on the gospel circuit in Chicago.
When she was sixteen years old, she even went on a tour with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (she would later go on to sing at his funeral in 1968). Franklin, however, opted to pursue a pop music career when she was eighteen years old.
Franklin’s father assisted her in relocating to New York, as well as assisting her in producing the tape that led to her signing with Columbia Records in 1960.
Her debut Columbia single, “Today I Sing the Blues,” was released in September 1960 and went on to rank in the Top 10 of the Hot Rhythm & Blues Sellers.
“Aretha: With The Ray Bryant Combo” was Franklin’s debut secular album, released in January 1961. Her first song to rank on the Billboard Hot 100 was “Won’t Be Long,” off the album. She went on to record many more albums for Columbia, but never really found financial success there.
She signed with Atlantic Records in November 1966 when her contract with them ended. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” her debut record with Atlantic, was a tremendous smash, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her first top-ten pop single.
Franklin’s most famous songs are “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Ain’t No Way,” “Think,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “I Say a Little Prayer,” among others.
She was the first woman to enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1994 and got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1979.
She’s won 18 Grammy Awards in a variety of musical genres, as well as two Honorary Grammy Awards. Several of her tracks have charted in Billboard’s “Top 40.” On Billboard’s R&B singles list, she had twenty #1 hits. She’s also one of the most successful musical performers of all time, with 75 million albums sold worldwide.
Franklin has four sons and daughters. Clarence Franklin and Edward Derone Franklin, Franklin’s first two children, were born when she was thirteen and fifteen years old, respectively.
Franklin would pay frequent visits to her grandmother and sister Erma, who reared them. Franklin and her husband at the time, Theodore “Ted” White, had their third child, Ted White Jr., in 1964. Franklin and her road manager Ken Cunningham had their youngest child, Kecalf Cunningham, in 1970.
During her lifetime, Franklin was married twice. In 1961, she married Ted White for the first time.
In 1968, they divorced, and in 1969, they married again. Glynn Turman, the actor, became her second husband.
They married in 1978, then divorced in 1984. She became engaged to her longtime boyfriend Willie Wilkerson in 2012 (they had previously been engaged twice), but she eventually called it off.
Estate After Death
Franklin owed the IRS between $5 and $8 million, according to documents released after her death on August 16, 2018.
Her attorneys proceeded in May 2019 to sell her huge portfolio of property, investments, and other assets.
Her image and music library are likewise incredibly valuable, but they are considerably less marketable assets.