“Aretha was simply a legend,” California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris said in a release revealing the Aretha Franklin Congressional Gold Medal Act on Tuesday. “Her work and impact will be felt for generations to come, and it’s long past time Congress honor her with the Congressional Gold Medal.” “From listening to Mary Don’t You Weep, to standing in the living room dancing to Rock Steady over and over again, to hearing from the Queen herself how lucky I was to be young, gifted and black – Aretha’s songs were the soundtrack of my childhood,” she added. Harris is one of the many senators in the bipartisan group supporting the bill, including Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Michigan Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence as well as Georgia Republican Rep. Doug Collins.
Here is some of our previous coverage on the life of Franklin in the wake of her passing:
“Franklin’s singing started in her youth in Detroit, singing in church where her father was a minister. In fact, she would release her first gospel album at the age of 14, “Songs of Faith,” and would tour the circuit until the birth of her first two sons. During the course of her career, while these gospel roots would inform her performance, she would also cross several singing genres by singing soul, R&B, jazz, and blues. In addition, she was also a songwriter and pianist.
Over the course of this career, Franklin racked up a number of unforgettable hits, like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” “Call Me,” and the 1972 gospel album “Amazing Grace.” Franklin won 18 Grammy awards over the course of her career, starting in 1968 and going all the way up until 2008 for Best Gospel-Soul Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” with Mary J. Blige.
In her personal life, Franklin had been married twice, first to Ted White, who would become her personal manager, and then later to actor Glynn Turman. Franklin also had a seven-year relationship with her road manager, Ken Cunningham. She leaves behind four sons: Clarence, Edward, Ted, and Kecalf.”