Country star Faith Hill paid tribute to Aretha Franklin ?at her Detroit funeral today (Aug. 31) with an emotional performance of the traditional hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Standing in front of the expansive gospel choir that backed her up, Hill poured her heart into a version of the church staple that appeared on Franklin’s landmark 1972 Amazing Grace album as dignitaries including Pres. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton swayed and clapped behind her.
Hill famously wiped away tears after seeing Franklin perform “Nessum Dorma” at the 1998 Grammy Awards in place of opera singer Pavarotti. When the famous opera singer became too ill to perform, Franklin stepped in at the last minute, learned the Puccini classic, and nailed the performance, bringing many to tears, Hill included, and earning a well deserved standing ovation, in what instantly became one Franklin’s most iconic performances.
Franklin will be laid to rest in a powerful ceremony featuring performances and speeches from many of her close and talented friends at Detroit’s packed Greater Grace Temple, where hundreds of fans lined up to pay their final respects to the music icon, who was dressed in a sparkling gold dress for her final outfit. Other notable performers at Franklin’s funeral will include R&B legend Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, gospel singer Shirley Caesar and 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan.