The Queen of Soul and The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll are united in death as they were joined in superstardom in life. Aretha Franklin died in Detroit at age 76 on Thursday – 41 years to the day that Elvis Presley succumbed to a heart attack at Graceland in 1977 at age 43. She also passed exactly 70 years after baseball legend Babe Ruth, the so-called Sultan of Swat, died in New York City at age 53. So yes, the King, the Queen, and the Sultan all died on the same date. And yes, Thursday also marked the 60th birthday of another pop music icon, Madonna, in the kind of sublime coincidence that should keep fans and conspiracy theorists active for years.
Franklin, the R&B singer who rose to fame in the 1960s with hits like Respect, I Say a Little Prayer and (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman, passed on Thursday after a long illness. During her career, Franklin won 18 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award in 1994. Aretha recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries . . . the most for any female artist in history. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.