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Aretha Franklin was more than a woman, more than a diva and more than an entertainer. Aretha Franklin was an American institution. Aretha Franklin died Thursday in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type. Her death was confirmed by her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. She was 76.
She has a new solo recording out this month, At Last. Knight began her singing career at age 4. Since that modest start, she went on to lead one of the most successful vocal soul groups in America, Gladys Knight and The Pips. The group stayed together for 39 years before disbanding.Among, the group's most notable songs include: I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Neither One of Us, and Midnight Train to Georgia. Knight then launched a solo career. Terry interviewed Knight before a live audience in San Francisco in 1996.
Producer, composer and arranger Thom Bell was one of the prime originators of the Sound of Philadelphia, creating hits with the Delfonics such as "La La La Means I Love You" and "Didn't I Blow Your Mind." Bell was born in Jamaica and moved to Philadelphia at age 5. He planned to become a classical conductor, but in his early 20s, he was signed by Cameo Records to create a Philadelphia version of Motown.
If you've been wondering where Prince has gone, he's re-signed with Warner Brothers Records after spending the last few years of sporadic independent releases. Now Prince has released two new albums simultaneously: Art Official Age appears under his own name, and PlectrumElectrum is the debut record of a Prince back-up band called 3rdEyeGirl, but it includes Prince's vocals, guitar, and production style throughout. Fresh Air critic Ken Tucker has a review of both albums.