Music

It was a celebration — a daylong tribute, full of stories sharing how Aretha Franklin's life touched her Detroit community and the world.

There were moments of politics and humor, but most of all, the Queen of Soul was honored with music at the Greater Grace Temple Church in Detroit on Friday.

As the church swelled with attendees — a who's who of big names in music, sports and politics were present to pay their respects: The Clark Sisters, Ariana Grande, former basketball star Isiah Thomas and former President Bill Clinton. The missing voice was Aretha Franklin's.

Aretha Franklin's funeral service remembers and celebrates the "Queen of Soul." Beloved by millions around the world, Franklin — who died of cancer on Aug. 16 — also leaves behind a six-decade career of advocacy, becoming a symbol and transformative leader in both the women's rights and the civil rights movements.

Here is a visual recollection of the funeral of one of America's most celebrated artists. This collection will updated throughout the day.

Aretha Franklin is being laid to rest in Detroit, in a ceremony attended by legendary musicians and a former president. In the U.K., the Queen of Soul was also honored on Friday at Buckingham Palace, where a military band played "Respect."

The palace's famous changing of the guard took place just before Franklin's funeral was set to begin in the U.S. — and the Band of the Welsh Guards, which provides music during the ceremony, took the moment to honor her.

Eminem surprised fans and foes early Friday morning with an unannounced album, Kamikaze.

The 11-song album was executive produced by Dr. Dre and released on Dre's Interscope imprint, Aftermath Entertainment.

Rising singer Jessie Reyez, Detroit veteran Royce Da 5'9" and rapper Joyner Lucas guest on the album, which features Eminem taking shots at President Trump, the music press, and young rappers in general.

When George Li, the 23-year-old American pianist, revealed his Tiny Desk setlist, one thought came to mind: How will these powerhouse showstoppers sound on an upright piano? The music he intended to play, by Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz, was designed for a real, 7-foot concert grand piano – the kind they used to call "a symphony orchestra in a box."

The Detroit Free Press issued a stern directive to fans and would-be Instagram influencers gathering this week to commemorate Aretha Franklin in her hometown. "Remember," admonished staffer (and occasional NPR contributor) Rochelle Riley in her Tuesday column, "We will treat this like church." No selfies are allowed with Franklin's gold-plated coffin, as she lay in repose at the Charles H.

Update: This live stream has ended.


Since Aretha Franklin's death on Aug. 16, the world has memorialized the soul icon in fitting fashion — as a Queen. Her voice "captured the experience of living through profound change and showed how to preserve integrity in its wake," as Ann Powers wrote, an example that can feel desperately absent in these times of turmoil, but one that remains just a memory away.

Renée Fleming is becoming America's go-to singer. The celebrated soprano, who has performed at a broad range of high-profile events off the opera stage, is scheduled to sing at Senator John McCain's memorial service this Saturday at Washington's National Cathedral.

Fleming is slated to sing the Irish standard "Danny Boy" — at McCain's request — alongside tributes to the late Senator by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and a homily by Bay Area Catholic leader Father Edward A. Reese.

When Detroit celebrates the life of Aretha Franklin on Friday, there will be more than 100 pink Cadillacs lining the road in front of the church where her funeral will occur. It's a tribute to the Queen of Soul and one of her biggest, Grammy-winning hits.

A few weeks before the 2016 presidential election, composer Gabriel Kahane decided he needed to take a journey. On Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the votes were counted, Kahane boarded an Amtrak train in Penn Station in New York City. He left his smartphone behind. He unplugged from the Internet. And he spent the next two weeks riding across the country, talking to people.

Updated Aug. 28 at 3:07 p.m. ET

"They want to see that I fall / 'Cause I'm Michael Jackson."
Lyric from "Breaking News"

Maybe. Maybe not.

Jamie Bernstein can't call her childhood a typical one. On any given weekend, she might find Lauren Bacall, Isaac Stern, Richard Avedon, Mike Nichols, Stephen Sondheim, Lillian Hellman or Sidney Lumet hanging out at her house. Jamie's father was Leonard Bernstein.

The man who waited outside John Lennon's New York apartment building and then shot him to death in 1980 has been denied parole a 10th time.

Mark David Chapman, 63, stood before a New York State Board of Parole panel on Wednesday. In its decision, which was emailed to NPR, the panel said that releasing him would be "incompatible with the welfare and safety of society."

It also noted that the fact that Chapman has only one crime on his criminal record does not mitigate his actions.

There has never been an American dynamo remotely like Leonard Bernstein. The composer, conductor, pianist, creator of musicals, educator, political maven and raconteur seemed to spin on his axis faster than any normal human being.

Two days ago, on Monday, police in Uganda fired upon protesters who were demonstrating against the detention of Robert Kyagulanyi — a lawmaker better known as the musician Bobi Wine — and others.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Childish Gambino's "This Is America" and The Carters' "APES***" were the most talked-about videos of the last year, at least if the metric you use involves thinkpieces and social-media chatter. But by the time Madonna announced the video of the year winner on Monday night's MTV Video Music Awards, the two had been largely relegated to afterthoughts.

Congratulations are in order for the Eagles. The American rock band's first compilation album, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, has just surpassed Michael Jackson's Thriller as the best-selling album of all time. The comp, which collects nine singles and "Desperado," is now 38-times platinum as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America — meaning it has sold a total of 38,000,000 albums worldwide and bested Thriller's 33-times platinum certification.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died last week. In her wake, Franklin has left a musical legacy few other artists will ever touch — and, as expected, hits from the legendary R&B singer's catalog have shot back up the music charts following her death.

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