Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, Aretha Louise Franklin honed her musical abilities from an early age. After the family moved to Detroit, she began singing at New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was a preacher, and touring with him on his revival shows. She got her big break at age 18, when she released her first single “Today I Sing the Blues,” which hit No. 10 on the Billboard’s R&B chart. Here, Franklin performs onstage in 1969.