After a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, the venerable Aretha Franklin died at 76 at her home in Detroit on Thursday. The global outpouring of grief for the Queen of Soul is a testament to her life and legacy, as her contributions to popular music cannot be overstated. With her powerhouse voice, Franklin harnessed an inimitable sense of aching beauty. Her poignant, sweeping compositions brought gospel tradition into the mainstream music industry.
As one of the most celebrated vocalists of our time, Franklin’s influence on a generation of musicians is vast. She built friendships with artists across cultures and languages, influencing fellow icons in the Spanish-language music industry.
Here are a few ways Miss Aretha inspired her Latino peers in music.
Aretha Franklin and Celia Cruz had a longstanding friendship.
In 2001, VH1 held a televised tribute to Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall, with performances from Stevie Wonder, Backstreet Boys, Mary J. Blige, and more. One of the headlining sets during VH1 Divas Live: The One And Only Aretha Franklin came from Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz, who took the stage to perform a rendition of “Quimbara.”
Aretha introduced Celia onstage ahead of the performance. “It’s a sisterhood that we have together,” she said, referring to her as “one of the biggest names in pop and Latin music.”
Before the event, Cruz expressed her affection for Franklin in a heartwarming red carpet interview. “I love Aretha Franklin. I adore her so much, and for me, it’s an honor to be able to be with her tonight. So thank you very much. Aretha, I love you!” she beamed.
Stream the performance above, and watch the interview here.
Juan Gabriel and Aretha Franklin were working on a collaboration before his death.
Juan Gabriel. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Before his death in 2016, it was widely reported that Juan Gabriel and Aretha Franklin were preparing a collab for the third installment of his famed Los Dúo series, where he paired up with fellow icons for original songs. In 2016, national Mexican newspaper El Universal wrote that one day before his death, El Divo de Juárez was working on the collaboration and an accompanying music video with Aretha. Univision claimed that the album was slated for release in December of 2016, but both this collab and the full-length project have yet to see the light of day.
La Lupe covered Aretha Franklin in 1969.
In 1969, La Lupe covered Aretha’s “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” for her album The Queen Does Her Own Thing. The original song dropped a year earlier on Atlantic Records. Though no photos of the two idols are available online, as peers, La Lupe was undoubtedly influenced by Franklin’s career, since she earned the honorific The Queen of Latin Soul.