Miami Vice Wiki

Aretha Franklin


Miami Vice Performer
March 25, 1942, Memphis, Tennessee
August 16, 2018, Detroit, Michigan (cancer)
Ted White (1961-69, divorced, one son)
Glynn Turman (1978-84, divorced)
Three sons from other relationships

Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 - August 16, 2018, Memphis, Tennessee, a.k.a. The Queen of Soul) was an American R&B singer whose song "Who's Zoomin' Who" appeared in the episode "French Twist" of the series Miami Vice.


Franklin taught herself to play the piano as a young girl, and by the age of 14 she recorded her first album, of gospel music, but her career was derailed by motherhood, she had two sons before she was 16 years old. Franklin returned to singing in 1960, signing a contract with Columbia Records, then moved to Atlantic in 1966 when commercial success eluded her. Once with Atlantic, her career took off. Her first single for her new label, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" reached the Billboard Top 10 and seven weeks at the top of the R&B charts. The album of the same name also included her soul anthem, "Respect", which reached #1 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B charts. Other singles during this time include "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" and "Chain of Fools", both Top 10 hits. In 1968 she won the first two of 18 Grammys. In the 1970s Franklin continued her success, but in 1974 her single "Until You Come Back To Me" would be her last Top 10 single for over a decade, and her career went into decline. In 1980 her appearance in The Blues Brothers (and singing "Think") brought her back to the public consciousness. In 1982 she released Jump To It which did well, but it was followed by another disappointing album before striking gold in 1985 with Who's Zoomin' Who (featuring the title track, "Freeway of Love", both Top 10 singles, a third single, a duet with the New Wave duo Eurythmics, "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves", reached the Top 20). 1986's Aretha featured her first #1 single since the 1960s, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", a duet with Wham's George Michael, her last #1 single. Her rendition of America The Beautiful at the WWE's Wrestlemania III is still recognized as an all-time moment in the 25+ years of the event. She released an album of gospel songs in 1987 but did not do well commercially as did her two followup albums. Her 1998 album A Rose Is Still A Rose went Gold, her first album in 12 years to do so, and played an impromptu performance at the Grammys that year. Her version of the Beatles' song "Lady Madonna" was used as the theme to the comedy show Grace Under Fire in the 1990s. She records sporadically (her last studio album was in 2003) and performs live occasionally, she was the only singer to play at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Personal Achievements

  • One of three artists (Madonna and Marvin Gaye are the others) to have had a song reach each position (1 through 10) in the Billboard Top 10
  • Received Grammy Awards in each of five different decades (1960s/70s/80s/90s/2000s)
  • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the first woman so honored
  • Sang the Star Spangled Banner (along with Aaron Neville) at Super Bowl XL in 2006.
  • Became the first female artist to have 100 songs chart on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Chart in 2014

Personal life

Franklin had two sons, Clarence and Edward, before she was 16 years old, but never identified their fathers. She married (against her family's wishes) Ted White in 1961 until their divorce in 1969, they had one son, Ted White, Jr. (born 1964). Franklin had a long relationship with her road manager Ken Cunningham, their son Kecalf (named by using the initials of his mother and father and pronounced "Kelf") was born in 1970. Franklin then married actor Glynn Turman (A Different World) in 1978 until their divorce in 1984, but performed the theme to his show for three seasons in the 1980s. In 2012, Franklin announced her engagement to William "Wilkie" Wilkerson, but called off the wedding within weeks of the announcement.

Franklin has battled some recent health problems, but still performed occasionally, such as at the dedication ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., in October, 2011. In 2014-2015 Franklin performed at Kennedy Center Honors and on The Late Show With David Letterman. In 2018 Franklin was forced to cancel some concerts in her hometown of Detroit due to her health issues, and Franklin died of advanced pancreatic cancer in Detroit, Michigan, on August 18, 2018, at the age of 76.