American Music Awards: Gladys Knight to Lead Aretha Franklin Tribute - Rolling Stone
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Gladys Knight to Lead Aretha Franklin Tribute at American Music Awards

Performance will focus on Queen of Soul’s gospel roots, 1972 album ‘Amazing Grace’

Gladys Knight performs during the funeral service for Aretha Franklin at Greater Grace Temple, in Detroit. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76Aretha Franklin, Detroit, USA - 31 Aug 2018

Gladys Knight will lead an all-star tribute to Aretha Franklin at the American Music Awards, which will air live next month.

Paul Sancya/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Gladys Knight will lead a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the American Music Awards, which will air live October 9th on ABC, The Associated Press reports.

Dick Clark Productions confirmed the tribute, which will also feature Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and musical director Rickey Minor. The performance will focus on Franklin’s gospel roots and her seminal 1972 album, Amazing Grace.

“When I heard some of the initial ideas for the tribute, I knew without a doubt that this tribute will go down as one of the best in American music,” said Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and the executor of her estate.

Knight also performed at Franklin’s funeral in Detroit, singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The singer’s appearance, however, became mired in some confusion when a local TV station reported that she said she was also battling battling pancreatic cancer – the same disease that killed Franklin. Knight later clarified that she had previously been diagnosed with stage one breast cancer, something she had discussed with Franklin.

“Due to early detection, I am cancer-free and grateful for that,” Knight said in a statement at the time. “It is unfortunate that on a day we should be celebrating Aretha’s life and massive contribution to our world, a reporter who did not relay accurate information has missed the message. I send my love to the entire Franklin family and my gratitude to them for sharing such an extraordinary person with us.”

Franklin died last month at the age of 76. Her death elicited an outpouring of tributes from an array of artists including Mavis Staples, Smokey Robinson, Chris Stapleton, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Clive Davis, the label executive who guided Franklin’s career for several decades, is reportedly planning an all-star tribute concert, set to take place November 14th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In This Article: Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight


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