Aretha Franklin, who died today at 76 after on-off health issues, was descended from musical royalty that determined the direction of her life. Though born in Memphis, daughter of Mississippi Delta-born Reverend C. L. Franklin, she made her name in Detroit, where her father became a per-eminent African-American preacher and social activist, his sermons so charismatic some were released on record. Realizing his daughter's talents, he supported her desire to sing, so much so that she made her first gospel album at 14, for JVB Records, the same label that released his own sermons.
It's impossible to hit everyone's favorites here, so I've tried to honor history with some memorable live performances.
1980: Aretha with Matt Murphy in the movie The Blues Brothers. He played her guitarist-husband who left their diner to rejoin the Blues Brothers band.
Blues master Matt "Guitar: Murphy's recent death at age 88 didn't get the notice it should have, given his visibility in recent decades. Murphy, a veteran musician who gained notice in the film The Blues Brothers as part of their all-star band, was no latecomer to the blues. He was a native of Sunflower, Mississippi (in the Delta), also the birthplace of bluesman Little Milton Campbell and R&B crooner Jerry Butler.