The singer opened his performance with a mournful harmonica version of “The Lord’s Prayer” before delivering a brief eulogy for Franklin, saying that without “God’s goodness,” “We will have never known a Queen like this, we will have never known the joy she gave to us.”
“The greatest gift that has been given in life itself is love. We can talk about all the things that are wrong, and there are many, but the only thing that can deliver us is love,” Wonder added. “We need to make love great again.”
Wonder then mentioned how he hopes to one day collaborate with Franklin in heaven before launching into the Songs in the Key of Life favorite, with Wonder backed by the choir, brass section and other performers from the service to close out the funeral on an uplifting, funky note as attendees filed out of the venue.
Soon after, a moment of silence was observed as pallbearers removed Franklin’s coffin from the church en route to her final resting place.
Wonder previously said of Franklin the day after she died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76, “She did incredible music, incredible singer. She touched every genre. Every singer was influenced in some way by the way she sang, and they will forever be influenced by her because of her voice, her emotion, her sincerity is unforgettable.”
Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Chaka Khan were among the artists to pay musical tribute to Franklin at her funeral Friday, while Bill Clinton, Clive Davis and Smokey Robinson all contributed eulogies for the singer. The mayor of Detroit also announced that a waterfront venue in the Motor City would be renamed “Aretha Franklin Park.”
Other speakers included actress Cicely Tyson, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Hundreds of fans gathered Tuesday to honor the late vocalist during her public viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit.
Many of Franklin’s friends, collaborators and admirers spoke about the soul legend’s immeasurable legacy after her death. Smokey Robinson, who knew the vocalist since she was eight years old, told Rolling Stone that Franklin will be remembered as “one of the greatest singers to ever open their mouths.”