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  • Aretha Franklin looks over her shoulder, her hair pulled up into a beehive style, 1961. </br></br>Franklin started her singing career at age 14, touring with her father to various churches to perform hymns.
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  • Jerry Wexler, left, and Aretha Franklin, signing her contract to Atlantic Records with her manager looking over the two, January 1967. </br></br>Franklin signed to Atlantic Records in 1967 after six years with Columbia. Her debut album with the new company would hit gold status.
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  • Aretha Franklin in 1968.
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  • Aretha Franklin performs on “The Andy Williams Show,” May 4, 1969.
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  • Aretha Franklin fixes her makeup backstage before a performance at Symphony Hall in 1969, Newark, New Jersey.
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  • Aretha Franklin and Tom Jones perform on "This Is Tom Jones," which aired, Oct. 9, 1970.
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  • Aretha Franklin performs on "Top of the Pops" in the United Kingdom, circa 1970.
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  • Aretha Franklin performs at Jimmy Carter's Presidential Inaugural Gala, Jan. 20, 1977, in Washington, D.C. </br></br>Franklin would also go on to perform the national anthem at President Barack Obama's inauguration as well.
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  • American singer, songwriter, and pianist Aretha Franklin surrounded by actor John Belushi and Canadian actor and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd on the set of "The Blues Brothers," directed by John Landis. </br></br>In the film, Franklin plays a diner waitress who doesn't want her husband touring with the Blues Brothers, which she explains on screen through her hit song, "Think."
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  • Aretha Franklin holds up her American Music Awards trophy in one hand, and her shoes in the other, as she poses for photographers backstage at the 10th annual American Music Awards, Jan. 17, 1983, in Los Angeles. </br></br>Franklin won her award for her soul album entitled "Jump to It."
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  • Producer and arranger Narrada Michael Walden, left, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston pause for a photo during a recording session for the song, "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Gonna Be Me," in Detroit, May 1989.
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  • Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross stand with a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Jan. 17, 1993, in Washington. </br></br>Numerous musicians and performers gathered in front of the memorial to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
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  • Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin perform on stage during the "VH1 Divas Live" performance, April 14, 1998.
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  • Paul Thomas and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, left, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin and Britney Spears attend the NFL Kickoff Live 2003 presented by Pepsi Vanilla, Sept. 3, 2003.
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  • Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt present together on stage at the 45th annual Grammy Awards, Feb. 23, 2003.
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  • President George W. Bush presents Aretha Franklin with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a medal ceremony at the White House, Nov. 9, 2005, in Washington. </br></br>President Bush awarded Franklin with the honor for her "lifetime of achievement and for helping to shape our nation's artistic and cultural heritage."
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  • Aretha Franklin performs during the inauguration ceremony as Joe Biden, left, Barack Obama, right, and his daughter Malia Obama watch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009.
    Elise Amendola/ AP Photo
  • Aretha Franklin attends the 2010 Apollo Theater Spring Benefit Concert Awards Ceremony at The Apollo Theater, June 14, 2010, in New York City.
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  • Aretha Franklin and Oprah Winfrey on stage at the "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular" event at the United Center, May 17, 2011, in Chicago.
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  • Cissy Houston, Jerry Butler, Aretha Franklin, center, Ronald Isley and Dennis Edwards perform an encore during the Roll Hall of Fame 16th American Music Masters Tribute honoring Aretha Franklin at Playhouse Square's State Theatre, Nov. 5, 2011, in Cleveland, Ohio. </br></br>Franklin was not only the first African-American woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but the first woman in general.
    Jason Miller/Getty Images for Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
  • Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin pose for photographers during the BET Honors 2012 Pre-Honors Dinner at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Jan. 13, 2012, in Washington.
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  • Aretha Franklin sings the National Anthem at the opening of the 363rd Commencement Ceremony at Harvard University, May 29, 2014, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. </br></br>Franklin received an honorary degree in music from the university.
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  • Aretha Franklin performs at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, April 29, 2016. </br></br> In August 2016, Franklin announced she would have to cancel a few upcoming concerts due to medical concerns, but was back on the road by November.
    Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo
  • Aretha Franklin performs at the Bardavon Opera House for the 2017 Bardavon Gala: An Evening with Aretha Franklin, March 12, 2017, in Poughkeepsie, New York.
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