Recovering Aretha tells Grammys: See you next year

2011-02-14 08:54

Los Angeles – Soul legend Aretha Franklin promised to attend next year’s Grammy awards after this year’s show opened with a tribute to the singer, who is currently recovering from surgery.

Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, country singer Martina McBride and gospel music’s Yolanda Adams belted out a string of her hits, including “Respect”, “Think” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the start of the three-and-a-half-hour show.

Afterwards, Franklin, in a white dress and looking slimmed down from recent years, appeared in a video clip to thank everyone who sent cards, flowers and, “most importantly, your prayers” when she was in hospital.

“I wish that I could have been with you all tonight, but since I couldn’t, next year, OK?” she said.

Franklin has been out of the public eye since she had surgery on December 2 to treat an undisclosed ailment.

Neither Franklin nor her publicist have confirmed the illness for which the 68-year-old singer has received treatment, but media outlets reported in December that she was battling cancer.

The singer cancelled a number of concerts in October citing “health reasons”, while in early November, doctors ordered her to cancel all engagements for the next six months, according to the Detroit News.

The “Queen of Soul” turned out last Friday at an NBA game in Detroit. During the half-time break, she said she hoped to resume her performing schedule in May, perhaps at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Arguably the most influential female singer in the United States in her lifetime, Franklin’s powerful, bell-clear voice is unmistakable, from a whisper to full gospel choir force that stretched over four octaves.

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