Aretha Franklin's Most Memorable American Music Awards Moments: Watch
From a young, Detroit gospel singer to an international soul and R&B icon, Aretha Franklin mesmerized the world with her otherworldly vocals and ability to excel in any genre she tried. For over 40 years, she held the record for the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100, which was later topped by rapper Nicki Minaj in 2017. Beyond the music, Franklin was a believer and noted participant in the nonviolent civil rights movements of the 1950s and '60s.
Following her passing earlier this year at age 76, the 2018 American Music Awards will honor the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin with a tribute this Tuesday, Oct. 9. In light of the AMAs' tribute to her legacy, Billboard has rounded up five of Franklin's most memorable AMAs moments. Watch them below:
1. Performs "It Only Happens" ('76)
Franklin sang her upbeat "It Only Happens (When I Look at You)," from 1975's You album, in a color-blocked, orange-and-yellow dress that was as dazzling as her vocals during the performance. Her voice easily slipped into high notes as she breezed through lyrics like "It happens every time I look into your eyes/ I can almost see in your heart."
2. Accepts favorite soul/R&B female artist from Michael Jackson ('76)
Pop music legend Michael Jackson presented Franklin with the award for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist at the 1976 AMA's. During her soft spoken speech, she thanked everyone that "made this award possible," and especially her fans, "most of all, all of you."
3. Son Clarence accepts her award for favorite soul/R&B female artist ('77)
The soul icon's first-born son gave a short-but-sweet speech on her behalf at the 1977 American Music Awards: "I'm sure if my mom were here tonight she'd thank all of you who've made it possible for her to win this beautiful award, and I would like to thank you."
4. Thanks Luther Vandross while accepting favorite soul album (1983)
Franklin accepted her award for favorite soul album from the band Toto at the '83 American Music Awards and especially made sure to thank her producer at the time -- legendary singer, songwriter, and producer Luther Vandross. A blonde-haired Franklin dazzled in a feathery headpiece and a strapless, black dress adorned with rhinestones.
5. Honors her late father C.L. Franklin in best soul/R&B female artist acceptance speech ('86)
The soul icon accepted her 1986 favorite soul/R&B female artist award remotely from her Detroit home, where she wore a white sequined top that paired with her short, asymmetrical hairstyle and blue eyeshadow. She thanked "all you wonderful people who voted for me," and accepted the award "in memory of my dad, Reverend C.L. Franklin" -- the Baptist minister and Franklin family patriarch having died in July of 1984.