Rock Hall's First Woman Inductee Aretha Franklin Dies at 76


[image-1]The first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has died. Aretha Franklin's family announced today that after a battle with pancreatic cancer the Queen of Soul passed early this morning at her home in Detroit. She was 76.

Scene's own music editor, Jeff Niesel, spoke with Franklin back in 2016 for our sister paper, the Detroit Metro Times, and she said then she wanted to sing until the end.

"I will be singing all the way," she said. "...It's not good to go and sit down anywhere, especially after having been very active. That's just not a good idea."

Henry Beecher Hicks III, president of the National Museum of African American Music, said in a statement today that the "Respect" singer will be greatly missed. 

"Franklin’s influence on subsequent generations of musicians is too pervasive to sum up in a few words," Hicks said. "But perhaps, President Barack Obama described it best when he said that her music 'captures the fullness of the American experience, the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.'"

The Rock Hall plans to add a dress worn by Franklin to its In Memoriam case later today. 

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.