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Aretha Franklin's Birthday: Saying 'Thank You' To The Queen Of Soul As She Celebrates 70 Years

Posted: 03/23/2012 11:24 am Updated: 03/23/2012 12:38 pm

Aretha Franklin Birthday
Aretha Franklin, who celebrates her 70th birthday, Sunday, March 25, 2012, performs at Radio City Music Hall on February 18 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

What would you say to a Motown legend -- and American icon -- on her birthday?

Aretha Franklin will celebrate her 70th birthday this Sunday, March 25, and we have a feeling a simple "Happy Birthday" just doesn't quite cut it. Franklin deserves a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T, of course.

Well Detroit's public radio station, WDET, has stepped up to the challenge and made a video dedicated to the queen of soul.

WDET took a moment to say thank you to Franklin, a long-time Detroiter and soul singer who has commanded respect with her powerful singing voice for decades. And the station wants fellow fans to share their own words of appreciation.

"There's so much we wouldn't have without Aretha," explained Mikel Ellcessor, WDET's general manager.

WDET came up with the video simply as a way to say thank you, he said, and to take a moment and remember what's important.

"If you really sit down a minute and think about what Aretha Franklin means to American culture," Ellcessor explained, "there's no way not to do this."

WDET made the video with some musical help from Detroit's own Larry Callahan and Selected of God Choir, known for a memorable performance in the "Imported from Detroit" Chrysler commercial featuring Eminem.

"She is singular and magnanimous, an icon," WDET host Jay Butler says of Franklin in the video. He has known her since 1964.

The station also filmed another thank you to Aretha from the notable singer and jazz musician Rachelle Ferrell, who teared up as she gave thanks to Aretha in words and song.

"She is a force of nature," Ferrell says in the video. "And I dont know where I would be, or any other singer that sings from the core and the depth of one's soul and one's heart without Aretha Franklin."

What's your birthday message to Aretha? Share it with HuffPost and WDET, and make sure to tune in online or to 101.9 FM in Detroit at 11 a.m. on Sunday for a three-hour tribute to Aretha on "Ann Delisi's Essential Music."

Still haven't gotten your queen of soul mix? Check photos of Aretha through the years below:

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Filed by Kate Abbey-Lambertz  |