Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died at her Detroit home at age 76. She may be best remembered for her vocal virtuosity and her chart-topping hits like “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” but she gave some extremely memorable performances at sporting events. She sang the national anthem before Game 1 of the 1993 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays. Her performance was phenomenal, and so were her earrings:
She would also sing the anthem before Game 3 of the 2011 American League Championship Series, which was between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers:
The Queen of Soul didn’t just limit herself to baseball, though. She sang the anthem with Aaron Neville before Super Bowl 40 in 2006:
And she delivered a virtuoso performance on Thanksgiving Day 2016, when the Detroit Lions played the Minnesota Vikings, accompanying herself on a baby grand piano positioned at the 50-yard line. (You can see that performance in the video at the top of this post.)
Aretha Franklin was really, really good at singing the national anthem. But there’s one more performance of an America-themed song that should be included here. She did a gorgeous, moving rendition of “America the Beautiful” before Wrestlemania 3 in 1987.
Whether at Wrestlemania or the World Series, it can’t be disputed that Aretha Franklin was one of the greatest of all time at opening a sporting event.
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