In the midst of an epic run of soul-music success for Atlantic Records in 1972, a 30-year old Aretha Franklin made an unexpected return to her roots at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles recording Amazing Grace – now considered one of the most iconic gospel albums of all time. And on October 9 the songs made famous by the Queen of Soul in this recording will come to life again on the stage of the American Music Awards, performed by an all-star lineup of soul and gospel legends who will come together to pay homage to the great Aretha Franklin.
Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin and CeCe Winans, friends of the late, luminary singer/songwriter, will take the AMA’s stage for a moving tribute honoring Franklin’s gospel roots and iconic gospel album, Amazing Grace. 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 8:00pm Eastern on ABC.
We may never see the film documenting the making of Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace, which was set to be released that same year but later shelved by Warner Bros., but this tribute on the American Music Awards will be a fitting replacement as we remember the music and testimony of this artist whose music knew no boundaries, and whose impact will never be rivaled.
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the American Music Awards, dick clark productions and the 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.”
“It’s a blessing to be a part of this moving musical tribute to honor our late queen and sister, Aretha,” said Gladys Knight. “She was an icon and visionary, radiated light and love through all of her life’s work, and touched all of us through her incredible gift of music.”