Musician Biographies » Aretha Franklin » Down but Never Out - Taking A Break, Love Again, Spirit Of Success, Amazing Grace, Good-bye To Old Friends

Down but Never Out - Tragedy Strikes Again

aretha franklin father shot

Prior to the 1980 release of The Blues Brothers, Aretha was busy preparing for a series of shows at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. On June 10, 1979, she came off stage at the end of a performance. Her husband and her brother were waiting for her. Cecil told her that their father had been shot in Detroit. Aretha was in shock.

As she made plans to return immediately to Detroit, Aretha tried to understand what had happened. During a robbery at her father's house, Reverend Franklin had been shot in the knee and the groin. Neighbors managed to get into the house and phone for an ambulance. Though radio stations were announcing that Reverend Franklin had died, the hospital was telling Aretha that he was alive. In fact, Aretha's father was still alive, but he had slipped into a coma.

Aretha's life would never be the same again. For the next five years, Reverend Franklin remained in a coma. Everything in Aretha's life focused on her father's health. She performed benefits to raise money for his care. Her sisters, Carolyn and Erma, changed their lives so they could be near him at all times. Aretha's own health suffered. Her smoking was at an all-time high, and she gained a great deal of weight.

Aretha spent so much time in Detroit that her marriage to Glynn began to suffer. In an awful coincidence, Glynn's uncle was shot and killed the week after Reverend Franklin was shot. Glynn's career began to take him away from Los Angeles and that added further strain to the marriage.

Down but Never Out - Farewell [next] [back] Down but Never Out - New Possibilities

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