JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford paid tribute to Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," who died on August 16 after it was reported that she was "gravely ill" in Detroit. Her family said that the cause of death was advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.
During an interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF 101.1 FM radio station, Halford said (hear audio below): "[I] love you, Aretha — what you stood for with your music, your messages, especially with the messages of the time.
"I was 16 when 'Respect' [Franklin's best-known hit] came on the radio in England. And when you're in your early teen years, you're trying to figure out a lot of stuff, aren't you? And music sometimes can be your only friend. So when I first heard that song and the power in her voice and the soul in her voice — man, it was just a rush. So I've always been an Aretha fan. She means so much to so many people — millions of her fans around the world. But her voice is, was and will always be very special and very unique to so many people.
"To a fellow singer, to a brother singer, I relate to Aretha," he continued. "You know when you sing in the shower, how good it makes you sing. That's the thing about singing live, and that is the voice of Aretha Franklin — she has this power to touch you so deeply and move you so deeply with the emotion in her voice. And she would belt it out, and she could also sing the most beautiful ballads and melodic songs as well. She was across the borders as a performer.
"So, God bless you, Aretha. Thank you for everything you've done for us."
Franklin was 76 years old at the time of her death.
In 1987, Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and was later named the "Greatest Singer of All Time" by Rolling Stone.
JUDAS PRIEST's latest album, "Firepower", was released in March via Epic.
The band has just returned to the United States for a co-headlining run with fellow classic heavy rockers DEEP PURPLE.