Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for US President Bill Clinton in Washington DC in 1993.Picture: AP
ARETHA Franklin, whose powerful voice made her the long-reigning Queen of Soul with such hit songs as Respect and Chain of Fools, died yesterday at the age of 76, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Franklin, who won 18 Grammys and had some 25 gold records, died at her home in Detroit.

She sang at the funeral of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, as well as at the presidential inaugurations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. In 1987 she became the first woman voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2010 Rolling Stone magazine named her the No 1 singer of the rock era.

Franklin was known to be shy, moody, imperious and difficult. She often did not get along with other women singers, including her sisters, could be quick to fire underlings, and was erratic when it came to showing up for concerts and appointments.

Franklin, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, was the subject of a singing tribute at the February 2011 Grammy Awards ceremony and a Carnegie Hall tribute concert in early 2017. She did not attend either.

Franklin did not perform regularly for many years, partly because of an aversion to flying after a rough trip in 1982. Instead, she travelled in a customised bus. She often had to cancel shows for health reasons. - Reuters