50 years ago in Detroit, Mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh announced that February 16 would forever be known as Aretha Franklin Day to The Motor City, you know, the one day of the year devoted to the Queen of Soul and her everlasting legacy.
Here at iHeartRadio, we are celebrating all things Ms. Franklin and Black History Month, on the historic anniversary with a closer look at the music legend. We know the classic songs. We recognize her voice. Now, scroll on below to learn just a few things you might not have known or forgotten about the music superstar on her big day.
1.) Singing has been a lifetime affair for Aretha Franklin. She was just 12-year-old when she made her debut performance at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. As for her song choice, Franklin chose "Jesus, Be a Fence Around Me."
2.) In case you didn't know, "Respect" is a cover of an Otis Redding song. Little did she know in 1967 that the track would go on to become her signature hit and an anthem for the feminist movement.
3.) Aretha is a pioneer for female artists. Just take a look at her credentials. She was the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Back in 1987, she was inducted by Keith Richards.
4.) Believe it or not, Aretha is a high school dropout. Even though she attended Juilliard, the living legend actually dropped out of high school. Nonetheless, she has two honorary doctorates of music from Berklee College of Music and from Yale University.
5.) Don't expect to find Aretha in first class on your next flight as she has a major fear of flying. After an in-flight turbulence incident in 1982, the singer stopped flying. "I've been to California from Detroit four times this year and Florida. I go wherever I choose to go comfortably on my custom bus," she previously revealed.
6.) Franklin has seen her share of United States Presidents. She has performed at the inaugurations of three United States presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
7.) Long before her career in music, Aretha became a young mother at the tender age of 15. She gave birth to her first child, Clarence, who was named after her father, on January 28, 1955.
Photo: Getty Images