Erma Franklin was born on July 19, 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio. She is an American singer-songwriter and actress who has also been a producer, composer, director, and author.

Erma Franklin is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She became famous for songs like Piece of My Heart and On the Sunny Side of the Street.

Erma Franklin’s musical achievements will always be eclipsed by those of her younger sister, Aretha Franklin, particularly because she only recorded seldom during the 1960s. Franklin is most known as a vocalist for recording the original version of “Piece of My Heart,” which went on to become one of Janis Joplin’s trademark songs in a different arrangement. Franklin was born in Shelby, Mississippi, on March 13, 1938, and traveled with her family to Memphis, Buffalo (where she had her singing debut at the age of five in her father’s church), and ultimately Detroit. She sang in the church choir with her sisters Aretha and Carolyn, and in high school, she was a member of the Cleo-Patrettes, a singing group that won a state talent contest and recorded for the tiny Detroit label JVB. After the Cleo-Patrettes broke up after high school, Franklin toured for two years with her father’s gospel group; she then had opportunities to record for Chess and join Motown’s early roster, but she ultimately decided to follow her father’s wishes and attend college before pursuing a singing career.

In 1961, Franklin passed an Epic audition and relocated to New York to record. At the time, Aretha Franklin was signed to Columbia Records, and Erma had the same issue as her sister: pure R&B wasn’t the label’s forte, and they didn’t know how to manage her. Her Name Is Erma, Franklin’s first album, was released in 1962 and included jazz and pop classics as well as R&B songs; one of the album’s commercially overlooked hits, “Abracadabra,” was written by Van McCoy, later of “The Hustle” fame. Franklin waited out her contract as a featured singer in New Orleans R&B icon Lloyd Price’s program from 1961 to 1966, frustrated with Epic’s choice of paths for her.

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Soul Sister In 1967, as Aretha Franklin’s career took off at Atlantic, she signed with producer/songwriter Bert Berns’ Shout Records. Later that year, Franklin’s first Top Ten R&B success, “Piece of My Heart,” a song Berns co-wrote with Jerry Ragovoy, became her first Top Ten R&B smash; however, before Franklin could begin production on a full album, Berns died unexpectedly of a heart attack, plunging the business into disarray. Franklin, meantime, supported her sister on several Atlantic records and toured the United States and Europe in support of “Piece of My Heart.” In 1969, she signed with Brunswick and had a modest R&B success with “Gotta Find Me a Lover (24 Hours a Day),” as well as her second album, Soul Sister. Franklin was once again stuck with a label that didn’t know what to do with her; when Brunswick canceled a planned session with Aretha Franklin in the producer’s chair, Franklin waited out her contract and returned to Detroit in 1972 to work at a public relations company. She worked with Aretha Franklin on and off during the 1980s and 1990s, ultimately rising to the top of the Boysville children’s organization. Franklin’s original version of “Piece of My Heart” had a brief resurgence in Europe in the early 1990s, when it was used in a jeans advertisement. After a long fight with cancer, Franklin died on September 7, 2002.

Erma Franklin is an American singer, songwriter, actress, author, and activist. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee to a sharecropper’s daughter and a Baptist minister. Reference: vaughn franklin.

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