Bill Clinton eulogizes Franklin: Hillary and I were 'Aretha groupies'

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Since Franklin's death, Owens said a close group she described as "Aretha's angels" have "worked tirelessly" and have been guided by a single question: "What would Aretha want?" The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. "Not without failure, but overcoming her failure", he said.

Faith Hill faced a daunting challenge when she performed at Aretha Franklin's memorial service, held Friday at the Greater Grace Temple in Franklin's home city of Detroit. She gave birth to the eldest, Clarence, when she was just 12-years-old. "She worked for us".

In 1980, Franklin performed for Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Albert Hall in London.

"Thank you for Aretha: She was a bright and shining star, she was an image of hope larger than life, she was a soldier, a trouper, an encourager, a good and faithful servant. She's everything to me, like my mother", said Ugochi Queen, a 46-year-old Franklin tribute artist dressed in black ruffles from Gary, Indiana. "She had the voice of a generation, maybe the voice of a century". She lived with faith - not without failure, but overcoming her failures. Then she went out into this setting and all these people who loved her were awestruck and said, 'Can you believe she showed up?' She sang not one song, not two songs, not three songs.

Speaking about the late singer, funeral directors Swanson said: "God didn't make a better singer and there isn't a better casket than her 24 karat gold one".

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Later in the afternoon, the Capitol will be open to members of the public who want to pay their respects. Capitol on Friday, with a final memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral.

He further recalled, "When we are getting out of college is when she finally got her big breakthroughs".

He praised her for the funding she gave to The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and for singing through tear gas during the civil rights fight.

"How you doing, baby?" she asked him. She sang "I Dreamed a Dream" at his 1993 inauguration and was back for another performance at his second inauguration in 1997, and Clinton awarded her a National Medal of Arts and Humanities in 1999.

The body of the soul legend arrived three hours before the start of the service at the Greater Grace Temple in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse.

They filed past and paid their respects at Franklin's open casket, where they saw her wearing a sparkling full-length gold dress with sequined heels - her fourth and final outfit of the week.