Seattle radio station pays tribute to Queen of Soul with non-stop Aretha Franklin songs

Since the news of Franklin’s passing Thursday morning, DJ Riz Rollins and the other DJs at KEXP played Franklin’s music nonstop from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Tributes are pouring in from across the country in memory of Aretha Franklin, from the legendary Apollo theater in New York, which has changed its marquee in her honor, to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to right here in Seattle. She had a big impact she had on local music lovers.

At La Marzocco Café and Showroom and the home of KEXP radio station in Seattle, listeners were getting a whole lot of Aretha Franklin on Thursday.

Some know and love her because of her hit, ‘Respect.’

"I remember the first time I heard ‘Respect.’ So, had so much energy in that song. So, so fun,” said Darin McKenna. “I didn’t grow up listening to her. And iI remember discovering that song and thinking she’s quite an amazing woman.”

Others preferred Franklin’s song, “Natural Woman.”

“I love that song,” said Carol Miller. “She always made me smile.”

Even with an album in hand, Susan Long-Walsh struggled to name her favorite song from Franklin.

“There are so many greatest hits don’t know where to start,” said Long-Walsh.

POLL: What is your favorite Aretha Franklin song? Answer the poll below or click here.

Long-Walsh said Franklin and her music make her think of so many things.

“I think of soul. I think of bold. I think of younger days and Ed Sullivan,” said Walsh. “She made me feel powerful as a young black girl. I love her boldness and the strength of her voice.”

“She represents Motown soul. My favorite song with her was with George Michael. That was 86/87 ‘And You Were Waiting,'” said Gavin Whason.

Even Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson commented on what Aretha Franklin has mean to him and his wife, Ciara who is also a singer and songwriter.

"The thing about her, I was thinking about it today as I was going onto the field actually, ironically because we were playing some Aretha in the locker room. But I think at the end of the day, what are people's legacies? And what do you want your legacy to be? Whether if you're a quarterback, whether if you're a singer, whether if you're a teacher. No matter what we do, I think that we have to think about that more," Wilson told KOMO Sports after Seahawks practice at the VMAC on Thursday. "She lived a legacy of inspiring women, of inspiring people. She was a woman of culture and was really able to change the circumstance of music."

Watch: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson talks about Aretha Franklin's legacy:

Wilson said he remembered growing up and his family listening to her music, but he never made it to a live performance.

Inside the studios of KEXP in Seattle, DJ Riz Rollins shared his favorite memories of the music legend.

“Every junction of my musical development, Aretha has been there,” said Rollins. “I grew up with her singing jazz. I’ve grown up throughout jazz, rhythm and blues. The gospel is particularly meaningful to me.”

Since the news of Franklin’s passing Thursday morning, Rollins and the other DJs at KEXP played Franklin’s music nonstop from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.

“That’s a lot of Aretha,” said Rollins.

Rollins said he played Franklin’s songs spanning several decades and several genres.

“That’s what I’m going for, an old-time Baptist celebration. She’s going home. She would enjoy this. I know she would,” said Rollins.

Listeners were e-mailing and calling in, remembering the late great music icon.

“They’re asking for their personal favorites and their personal favorites go the entire gamut. We just had a listener chime in from Romania,” said Rollins.

He went onto say, “There’s sadness. There’s people who are happy to come together under the rubric of her music.”

Jim Wilke, a former producer, engineer, and host at KING-FM remembered Franklin when she performed in Seattle at The Penthouse Club in July 1966. He saw her perform again at Mercer Arena in 1968.

Decades later, Franklin’s music lives on.

The Queen of Soul is gone, but many say she’s not forgotten.

“She’ll live on forever. My kids know Aretha. Their kids will know Aretha. She will live on,” said Long-Walsh.

Besides KEXP, jazz station KNKX also had an all-day tribute to Franklin.

MoPoP, the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, also played Franklin’s music all day for their guests.

“We have soul music in this town - Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Grace Love and the True Loves - who carry on that tradition,” said Rollins. “We do have a soul show here, soul events throughout the city. It’ll be glorious to see factions come together to celebrate the Queen.”

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