While the late Aretha Franklin’s fans, friends and family gathered for a tribute concert in downtown Detroit, a pair of younger acts that nevertheless shared the charts with Franklin during the late ’70s and ’80s paid homage to the Queen of Soul on Thursday night in the suburbs.
Sharing a bill with Boy George and Culture Club, Tom Bailey added the Thompson Twins‘ “Sisters of Mercy” to his opening set, telling the crowd that, “We want to dedicate this to Aretha because we’re all going to miss her.” The B-52’s, the night’s middle act, followed suit during its portion of the show with “52 Girls” from the group’s 1979 debut album, as Kate Pierson announced, “We have to dedicate this to Aretha because she is the Queen of the USA” — one of the lyrics from the song.
Franklin died on Aug. 16 at the age of 76 from pancreatic cancer. She lay in state at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and her family’s New Bethel Baptist Church during the week and was feted with the all-star A People’s Tribute to the Queen concert on Thursday night.
Franklin’s funeral takes place at 9:30 a.m. Friday and will be televised and livestreamed via a number of outlets.
The ceremony will include performances by Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Shirley Caesar, Chaka Khan, Ron Isley, Jennifer Holliday, Yolanda Adams and Franklin’s son Edward. Rehearsals were held at the church on Thursday. Speakers will include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Smokey Robinson, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cicely Tyson, Clive Davis, the Rev. Al Sharpton, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.