From a child singing prodigy in her father’s church choir in Detroit to the undisputed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s influence has been felt for decades in music.
Her reign as the Queen of Soul has earned Aretha many career ‘firsts’ during her five-decades in music, including becoming the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was named the #1 best vocalist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
So today (March 25th) in honor of the Queen’s 71st birthday, we’re counting down her top five No.1 hits we just can’t get enough of after all these years!
1. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” — 1967
Her first No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, Aretha’s call for a little “respect” remains an anthem for women everywhere, not to mention a karaoke bar staple.
2. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (with George Michael) — 1987
Aretha’s only other No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, she paired up with George Michael for this dance hit that remained at the top for two consecutive weeks.
3. “Chain of Fools” — 1967
One of her signature hits, Aretha took “Chain Of Fools” all the way to the top of the R&B charts and No.2 on the Hot 100. She also earned a Grammy award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, which you can see why in the video below.
4. “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” — 1973
Stevie Wonder first recorded this song in 1967, but it was Aretha who made it a No.1 hit on the R&B charts and No.3 on the Hot 100.
5. “Freeway of Love” — 1985
This uptempo tune was a hit on the dance floor as well as the charts, reaching No.1 on the R&B charts and peaking at No.3 on the Hot 100. This hit earned Aretha her 15th Top-10 pop hit and 12th Grammy Award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and notably features the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.