Music legend Aretha Franklin, who passed last month, is getting a tribute fit for a gospel queen when the American Music Awards airs on Oct. 9 on ABC. Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans will all pay tribute to Franklin with a medley of songs from her Grammy Award-winning 1972 gospel recording Amazing Grace, her biggest selling record and the highest-selling live gospel record of all time.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the American Music Awards, dick clark productions and American Music Awards’ producer, Larry Klein, for honoring Aretha Franklin with a musical tribute for this year’s broadcast,” said Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and executor of the Aretha Franklin Estate. “Throughout its 46-year history, the American Music Awards has continued to stand by the music and honor the best in talent and the greatest in popular music culture. 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.” Owens adds, “We still remember when Aretha won her first American Music Award in 1976 for Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B, and throughout the years, she went on to win five more awards and we will never forget when she hosted the show; as well as her memorable performances. Dick Clark helped to revolutionize American music, and along the way, Aretha Franklin was part of that revolution.”
Gladys Knight, a seven-time Grammy winner and music legend in her own right, recently gave a stirring rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Franklin’s funeral.
Consulting Producer for the tribute is the Emmy Award® winning music director, composer and producer, Rickey Minor.
“Aretha was the voice of a generation,” said Minor. “She transcended racial barriers by reaching into the depths of her soul and taking us on a journey with every note she sang. Her spirit will live forever in her music.”
One of the most iconic voices in music history, Franklin accumulated six American Music Awards in her lifetime, including Favorite Female Artist – Soul/R&B (1976, 1977, 1984 and 1986), Favorite Female Video Artist – Soul/R&B (1986) and Favorite Album – Soul/R&B (1983). She served as host of, and performed on, the AMAs in 1976 and 1983, and last performed on the AMAs stage in 1986. Franklin left a resounding mark on the music world and beyond, also garnering an induction into the Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues Halls of Fame, a Kennedy Center Honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom and by utilizing her voice for social issues including civil and women’s rights.
Hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross, the “2018 American Music Awards,” the world’s largest fan-voted awards show, will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET on ABC. Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans join previously announced performers Benny Blanco with Halsey and Khalid, Cardi B with Bad Bunny and J Balvin, Mariah Carey, Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Carrie Underwood, with additional performers to be announced.
For more information, visit www.theamas.com, www.dickclark.com or abc.go.com/shows/american-music-awards.
View Gladys Knight’s performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” below: