Celebrating Aretha Franklin Day

Fifty years ago in Detroit, then-mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh announced that Feb. 16 would forever be known as Aretha Franklin Day in the Motor City – a day devoted to the Queen of Soul and her everlasting legacy.

Here at iHeartRadio, we are celebrating all things 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 Franklin. She was just 12 years 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.) Franklin 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. She was inducted by Keith Richards in 1987.

4.) Franklin is a high school dropout (even though she attended Juilliard). Nonetheless, she has two honourary doctorates of music from Berklee College of Music and from Yale University.

5.) Don't expect to find Franklin 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 U.S. presidents. She has performed at the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. 

7.) Long before her career in music, Franklin became a mother at the tender age of 15. She gave birth to her first child, Clarence, who was named after her father, on Jan. 28, 1955.

Original article by James Dinh at iHeartRadio