(CBS) — Aretha Franklin grew up in Detroit, but she loved Chicago. Franklin, who was battling pancreatic cancer, died Thursday. She was 76.
Her former publicist, Clarence Waldron, told CBS 2 that Chicago “meant the world to her.”
Here are some of the memorable moments of her time in Chicago.
- Long before she became “The Queen Of Soul,” Franklin would spend summers in Chicago on the Gospel music circuit. She joined Mavis Staples and would stay at Staples’s mother’s home on the South Side. “It starts right here,” Waldron said.
2. She actually got the name “Queen of Soul” in Chicago. It was after a performance at the Regal Theatre in the 1960s, when WVON radio personality Pervis Spann took the stage and declared, according to Waldron: “That Aretha Franklin is really something. We should crown her the Queen of Soul.” Waldron said Franklin was “very proud of that.” Herb Kent, another legendary WVON personality, was the first person to interview her on the radio in the early ’60s. Waldron said. She would often do her Christmas shopping in Chicago and especially enjoyed going to Tiffany’s on Michigan Avenue, Waldron said.
3. She loved sitting at Buckingham Fountain, “looking at the simple, beautiful water,” Waldron said. Amazingly nobody bothered her. “I guess they were just being polite,” Franklin told Waldron. Or it may have been the fact that she had security with her, too. She often brought her grandchilden there to play.
4. She appeared on stage countless times in Chicago. She last performed live in the area at Ravinia in September 2017. She often performed at the Chicago Theatre and one time joked that she was “going to Lem’s” on the South Side for ribs.
5. And who can forget her appearance in the Chicago-based movie “The Blues Brothers” — where she played the wife of Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy. She performed a classic rendition of ‘Think” at a soul food diner. Many believe that appearance helped revive her career.
6. Franklin performed “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at the funeral of Mahalia Jackson at the Arie Crown Theater in 1972.