The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

2011: Aretha Franklin

Lady Soul: The Life and Music of Aretha Franklin

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)  honored Aretha Franklin, one of the most important soul singers in the history of rock and roll music, during the 16th annual American Music Masters® series. We featured lectures, interviews, a professional development workshop, K-12 classes and films during the week that culminated on Saturday, November 5 with a conference at the Rock Hall and a tribute concert at the State Theatre in PlayhouseSquare.

WEEK OF EVENTS: October 31 - November 5


Monday, October 31 at 7 p.m. - Rock and Roll Night School: A Spotlight on Aretha Franklin in the Rock Hall's Foster Theater on the 4th floor.

Tuesday, November 1 at 7 p.m. - An Evening with the Blind Boys of Alabama on the Rock Hall's Main Stage. This event featured a live performance from the Blind Boys of Alabama (pictured, left) as well as an interview. The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music.

Wednesday, November 2 at 4:30 p.m. - Teachers Rock with Summer of Sisterhood: The Soul of Cleveland Girls in the Rock Hall's "Eat to the Beat" on the 3rd floor. We hosted a special workshop celebrating the legacy of Aretha Franklin, with special guests from the West Side Community House's Summer of Sisterhood program.  This workshop was designed for teachers and educators around Northeast Ohio. 

Wednesday, November 2 at 7 p.m. - Hall of Fame Series with Spooner Oldham in the Rock Hall's Foster Theater. Oldham (pictured, right) played keyboards on Aretha Franklin's first five albums for Atlantic Records: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Arrives, Lady Soul, Aretha Now, and Soul '69

Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. - " 'Rolling in the Deep': Aretha Franklin and the Makings of Modern Black Womanhood" - Keynote Lecture by Daphne Brooks, Professor of English and African-American Studies, Princeton University at Case Western Reserve University's Ford Auditorium, 10900 Euclid Ave. This lecture explored the rich and diverse complexities of Aretha Franklin's musical artistry--from her early recording career at Columbia Records in the early 1960s to her pop breakthrough later that decade, and it considered new ways in which to read Ms. Franklin's virtuosity as both a vocalist and instrumentalist as a form of sonic black feminism.

Saturday, November 5 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. - American Music Masters Conference in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Foster Theater. A reflection on the career of Aretha Franklin and her impact on rock and roll music. The conference featured rare film footage presented by documentary filmmaker and archivist Joe Lauro of Historic Films, as well as interviews with Cissy Houston and Bernard Purdie, both long-time friends and collaborators of Franklin's. 

Saturday, November 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Tribute Concert at PlayhouseSquare's State Theatre Tribute concert artists included Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Dennis Edwards (of the Temptations), Ronald Isley (of the Isley Brothers), and Spooner Oldham, as well as 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominee Chaka Khan, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Jerry Butler, Patti Austin, Kris Bowers, Carla Cook, Melinda Doolittle, Mike Farris, Cissy Houston and Aretha Franklin herself.  

(pictured, l-r: Patti Austin, Chaka Khan, Jerry Butler)


Listen, Watch and Learn More about Aretha Franklin:


    Audio                       Video                      Reading                 Museum


Additional Resources

"I’m thrilled and delighted to be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for American Music Masters. I’m really looking forward to being there. I’m so happy about what Ahmet Ertegun and the Hall of Fame created. The exhibits are a must see."
- Aretha Franklin on her American Music Masters honor