As the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s music was woven into the tapestry of the American experience, the “emotional depth” of a country struggling with racial divides and the emergence of women demanding respect and equal rights. West Virginia University’s Travis Stimeling says with Franklin’s range of genres—from gospel and jazz to country—she earned her place as a “masterful interpreter of songs.”
“Aretha Franklin was a masterful interpreter of songs in a wide range of traditions, from the gospel music she grew up with to country classics and jazz standards. Although she’s best known for her major hits, such as “Respect” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” her takes on such songs as “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Gentle on My Mind” show the emotional depth that she was able to pull out of even the most worn-out pop song.”
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