Aretha Franklin says shes going to retire. She has certainly earned it, hasn't she? Aretha has been a living legend as long as I can remember. Aretha first hit the charts back in 1961 with a remake of the old Al Jolson song, "Rock-A-Bye Your Baby." The song only made it up to #37 on the top 40 and it was 6 years later that she truly burst on the scene with her first major hit, "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You). After that, there was no stopping her.

It was just two months after that hit that she released he best known song. That song was the classic "Respect" a song that has not been off the radio waves since it was released in April of 1967. She followed that hit with 44 more trips to the Top 40.

That's a great track record,but Aretha Franklin is far more than just a list of songs that made it to the Billboard charts. The Queen of Soul as she is rightly called, could perform any kind of song in any genre and, most of the time, make the song hers. She's recorded everything from great soul songs to songs written by Carol King (Natural Woman) to an amazing version of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

I recall seeing Paul Simon on a talk show once and he told the interviewer that he wrote "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with Aretha in mind. I can only imagine how pleased he must have been when Aretha sold over a million copies of that song back in April of 1971. Can you imagine having Aretha Franklin record one of your songs?

Franklin says she plans to record one more album due to be released in September of this year then call it quits. Her "farewell" album is going to be produced by none other than Stevie Wonder! I, for one, can't wait to hear it.

The list of awards and honors that Aretha Franklin has earned over the years is amazing. She has claimed 20 Grammy Awards not to mention 3 American Music Awards. Add to that all the times she has been recognized for her contributions to music and her humanitarian efforts and that all adds up to a living legend.

I don't have a favorite Aretha Franklin song. I like whatever she is singing at the moment, but I wanted to include a video, so I just picked my favorite Aretha Franklin song at this moment.

Thank you for all the great music, Aretha!

Here's Aretha's incredible version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"