Aretha Louise Franklin (born March 25, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Aretha Louise Franklin (named for two aunts) was born in a two-room house in Memphis located at 406 Lucy St. She was the third of four children born to Barbara (née Siggers) and C.L. Franklin and the fifth of six overall in between past relationships by her parents. Franklin’s family moved to Buffalo, when Franklin was two, and then by four, had settled in Detroit. Following the move to Detroit, Franklin’s parents, who had a troubled marriage, split. Due to her father’s work as a Baptist minister, Franklin was primarily raised by her grandmother, Rachel. Franklin suffered a tragedy when her mother died in Buffalo when Aretha was ten. Franklin sang in church at an early age and learned how to play piano by ear. Tidbit: Franklin’s long friendship with Cissy Houston during Houston’s time with The Sweet Inspirations led Franklin to be named Whitney Houston’s godmother. Cissy Houston sang the operatic soprano whoop in the background of Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way”
By her late preteens, Franklin was regularly singing solo numbers in her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church. Franklin’s father, C.L. (short for Clarence LaVaughn), was a respected and popular preacher. Franklin grew up with local and national celebrities hanging out at her father’s home including gospel greats Albertina Walker and her group The Caravans, Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, three women who played a pivotal role in her vocal development as a child. Main Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encylopedia.