Both lifelong champions of women’s rights, Lennox sang beside Franklin on their 1985 duet, “Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves.” The song featured on Franklin’s studio album, Who’s Zoomin’ Who? as well as the Eurythmics’ Be Yourself Tonight. Lennox and her bandmate Dave Stewart originally wrote the song with Tina Turner in mind; but when Turner was unavailable to sing on the track, they turned to Franklin, whose thundering gospel croon brought the feminist anthem to life.
“As the One and Only ‘Queen of Soul,’ Aretha Franklin was simply peerless,” Lennox wrote in a statement. “She has reigned supreme, and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness. Superlatives are often used to describe astonishing singers… but in my view, even superlatives cannot be sufficient. Everyone who loved her will be saying little prayers of gratitude, respect and appreciation for the musical life force that enriched our lives. Her voice will soar forever.”
Just one of Franklin’s 112 charting singles on Billboard – the most of any female singer – “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” was nominated at the 1986 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. It has also been performed by the Pointer Sisters, the Spice Girls, Ann and Nancy Wilson, and even Lisa Simpson. Lennox and Franklin last performed together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert in 2009.