Gladys Knight talks about Aretha Franklin’s ‘heartbreaking’ funeral

Gladys Knight
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The 74-year-old singer performed both ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ in honour of her late friend – who passed away last month aged 76 – and she admitted it was an incredibly emotional moment.

Appearing on UK TV show ‘This Morning’ on Thursday, she said: “I didn’t know if I’d get through that. But yeah, [I did it] for her.

“She was 14 and I was nine when we first met, and we’ve known each other for that long a time. We both lived in Detroit … We just had a wonderful, wonderful thing. Back in those days entertainers weren’t so competitive as they are now.”

The ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ hitmaker and her friend – who were respectively known as the Goddess and Queen of Soul – lived just 10 minutes away from each other, and formed a close bond.

Opening up about Aretha’s shyness, Gladys explained there was just something so powerful and emotive about the way she sang.

She added: “She was very shy, but to me her speciality was when you heard Aretha sing, you felt it and every note that came out of her mouth. She touched your inner spirit, it was more than just doing a song.”

Meanwhile, Gladys had to speak out last week to clarify her comments after she told reporters that she and Aretha – who died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer – discussed having the “same disease”.

She said in a statement: “I’d like to clarify that Aretha and I discussed both of us having cancer, mine was stage 1 breast cancer and hers was pancreatic. Due to early detection, I am cancer free and grateful for that. It is unfortunate that on a day we should be celebrating Aretha’s life and massive contribution to our world, a reporter who did not relay accurate information has missed the message. I send my love to the entire Franklin family and my gratitude to them for sharing such an extraordinary person with us.”