Aretha Franklin passed away at her home in Detroit on Aug. 16 surrounded by loved ones after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The Queen of Soul’s impact on musical artists spans generations and different musical genres.
In honor of Ms. Franklin, EBONY has chosen some of the best musical covers of her songs by some of today’s biggest acts, listed below.
Ariana Grande is one of the better singers in this newer generation of stars and was often compared to Mariah Carey. Grande, who just released her fourth studio album, Sweetener, was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon shortly after news of Franklin’s death broke and performed a stirring rendition of “Natural Woman” with The Roots.
Fantasia performed this classic at Taking the Stage: African American Music and Stories that Changed America in 2017. The raspiness and soul of her voice lend itself well to Franklin’s 1967 hit about her not needing anyone else but her man.
Clarkson’s soulful voice fits perfectly with Franklin’s 1976’s song. She goes the acoustic route with her cover, in which you can feel every word of “Something He Can Feel.” The American Idol winner has covered Franklin in the past and has always paid homage to the Queen of Soul.
Scott brought down the house in this powerful performance of “Rock Steady” at a Women of Soul event at the White House in 2014. Her rendition had even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dancing in their seats.
Houston and Mary J. Blige performed Franklin’s 1968 song “Ain’t No Way” during VH1’s Divas Live ’99. The two singers have very distinct voices, but they work well together for this amazing tribute to the 18-time Grammy Award winner, who performed at VH1 Divas Live in 1998.
JHud had the honor of performing “I’ve Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” in front of Franklin, and we absolutely understand why she was chosen to portray the Queen of Soul in a biopic about her life.
We know “I Say a Little Prayer” was Dionne Warwick song Franklin covered and made her own but Franklin’s version left an indelible mark on fans. British singer La Havas did a beautiful cover for Studio Brussell in 2016 with just her voice and her guitar.
We had to include LaBelle’s rendition of this Franklin classic, which she performed in front of the Queen at a tribute to the legend. Rumors of a feud between the two have circulated for years, but one thing seemed clear: The “Respect” singer seemed very pleased with the way LaBelle brought down the house and even gave her a standing ovation.
Though all the singers do a wonderful job covering the legendary Franklin, there is only one Queen of Soul.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.