Today In 1987: Aretha Franklin Becomes First Woman Inducted To The Rock Hall

Flashing back 27 years ago today (Jan. 3rd) in music, Aretha Franklin received a major honor that solidified her titled as the Queen of Soul and one of the greatest voices in music. On Jan. 3, 1987, Franklin became the very first woman to be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The hall of fame, which debuted a year prior in 1986, inducted Franklin along with 21 additional artists that year including B.B. King, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Ricky Nelson, Muddy Waters. Not only did that year mark the first female artist to the hall of fame, but the biggest class of inductees in the museum’s history so far.

Since her addition to the Rock Hall, Franklin lead the way for many other female artists to receive recognition by the museum, though there still remains a large gender gap. According to, out of the 159 total inductions in the Performers category, 135 have been of solo male performers or male groups. Only ten solo female performers and 13 groups containing at least one female performer have been added since the Queen of Soul was admitted.

This year’s Rock Hall ceremony includes a lone female inductee on the list, legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, along with KISS, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and Cat Stevens. Also being honored this year: the Beatles‘ late manager Brian Epstein, the Rolling Stones‘ former manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham and Bruce Springsteen‘s longtime backing group the E Street Band.

Franklin returned to the Rock Hall in recent years to perform at the 25th anniversary celebration in 2010. Watch her performance of “Chain Of Fools” with Annie Lennox in the clip below.

To celebrate this historic milestone in the Queen’s career, take a look back on Aretha’s top 5 No. 1 hits here.

More from Britt Bickel

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