Soul legend Aretha Franklin has been awarded America’s highest civilian honour – the Presidential Medal Of Freedom For Achievement In The Arts. She received her medal from President Bush at a ceremony at the White House.
Presenting the award Bush said: “Generations of Americans have stood in wonder at the style and voice of Aretha Franklin. The ‘Queen of Soul’ has been a singer all her life, thanks to the early encouragement of her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Reverend CL Franklin. They raised their daughter to be a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart”.
The president continued by referencing an unnamed record label executive who had told him: “Aretha is still the best singer in the world, bar none. She finds meanings in lyrics that the composers didn’t even know they had.”