Aretha Franklin Tributes: ‘She Was a National Treasure’

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Tributes poured in following the death Thursday morning, August 16, of Aretha Franklin, one of the most beloved American artists of the past 60 years. Music stars from Barbra Streisand and Elton John to Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson honored the Queen of Soul with an outpouring of love and respect.

Her funeral is on Friday, August 31 at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Stevie Wonder, Ronald Isley, Ariana Grande, Faith Hill, Chaka Khan and Jennifer Hudson will be among the performers. Speakers will include former President Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Cicely Tyson and Clive Davis, who signed her to Arista Records.

The processional begins at 10 a.m. and the service is scheduled to end at 3 p.m. It can be live streamed here.

Billy Joel called her “the greatest singer of our time.” Elton John wrote: “She was one of my favourite pianists.” Brian Wilson described her as “one of most emotional singers.” Paul McCartney wrote: “Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of… the Queen of our souls.” Clive Davis, who signed her to Arista Records, where she enjoyed a huge comeback in the ’80s, called her “a national treasure.”

See their statements below via their social media accounts.

Carole King, who co-wrote “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”: “What a life. What a legacy!
So much love, respect and gratitude.
R.I.P. Aretha Franklin”

Keith Richards: “It’s a sad day but what a glorious lady. Her voice says it all!”

Joe Walsh, via several social media accounts: “Thanks for being “THE SOUL SISTER” to all of us. We will never forget you. Aretha was a national treasure. RIP”

Elton John (via Facebook): The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists.

I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and witness her last performance – a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation at St John The Divine Cathedral. She was obviously unwell, and I wasn’t sure she could perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently, and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time. I adored her and worshipped her talent. God bless her.

My condolences to all her family and friends. We shared the same birthday – and that meant so much to me. The whole world will miss her but will always rejoice in her remarkable legacy. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.
Elton xx

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