Rock Hall Honors Aretha Franklin for 16th American Music Masters Series

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will honor Aretha Franklin, one of the greatest singers in popular music, during the 16th annual American Music Masters® series this November.

Lady Soul: The Life and Music of Aretha Franklin, a weeklong celebration, will tell the story of the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In conjunction with the Museum’s latest special exhibit, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power, the Museum will honor Franklin’s work and her enduring influence.

“I’m thrilled and delighted to be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for American Music Masters,” said Aretha Franklin. “I’m really looking forward to being there. I’m so happy about what Ahmet Ertegun and the Hall of Fame created. The exhibits are a must see.”

“All of us at the Museum are thrilled that Ms. Franklin will be receiving our American Music Masters award in the year where we are honoring Women Who Rock,” said Terry Stewart, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “Not only has she long set the paradigm for vocalists and performers around the world, she has also been a great friend and supporter of the Rock Hall on so many of our exhibits and fundraising events. As such, the opportunity to now honor her for her impact on both music and popular culture is unprecedented.”

“Aretha Franklin’s work as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and arranger is unparalleled,” said Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education and Public Programs and Executive Producer of the program. “Her vast catalog shows her mastery of gospel, soul, and pop music, and her singular piano playing defines soul music. We are honored to tell her story to a wide audience, including students.”

The annual program begins on Monday, October 31, and will feature interviews, panels, films and educational programs throughout the week, including a keynote lecture and other events at Case Western Reserve University. On Saturday, November 5, a conference will be held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, exploring Franklin’s impact on popular music. The tribute concert will be held Saturday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m. at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theater in Cleveland. Ticket information will be announced in the coming weeks. Franklin will attend the tribute concert to accept the award but is not scheduled to perform. Sign up for the Rock Hall’s e-newsletter to be alerted when tickets will go on sale at A limited number of VIP packages beginning at $250 are available by contacting 216.515.1207.

Each year, the American Music Masters® series explores the legacy of a pioneering rock and roll figure in a range of events that includes Museum exhibits, lectures, films, a major conference and a tribute concert benefiting the Rock Hall’s education programs. Drawing together experts, artists, fans and friends, these events provide new perspectives on the most beloved and influential musicians of the past century.

The tribute concert brings together a diverse mix of artists and musical styles, and as a result, many magical moments have taken place over the years. In 2004, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performed onstage together for the first time to honor Lead Belly. The pair was awarded the highest honors of Album of the Year for Raising Sand and Record of the Year for “Please Read the Letter” at the 51st annual Grammy awards. Honoree Jerry Lee Lewis, who was not scheduled to perform at the 2007 concert, was moved to take the stage at the end of the show. Lewis tenderly played the piano and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. At the first American Music Masters tribute concert, Bruce Springsteen set the bar high and performed in honor of Woody Guthrie. The most star-studded and unique performance by a trio was Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke and Elvis Costello paying tribute to Sam Cooke in 2005. In 2008, a 93-year-old Les Paul took the stage with his trio and then led an epic jam with some of rock and roll’s greatest guitarists, from Jennifer Batten to Slash. Janis Joplin was honored in 2009 by Grammy winner Lucinda Williams with a song she composed especially for the occasion, and in 2010, Dave Bartholomew brought down the house with a performance in tribute of honorees Fats Domino and Bartholomew himself.