Sheffield songwriter who penned Grammy-winning Aretha Franklin song pays tribute to 'best ever'

The 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin (pic: Ian West/PA Wire)
The 'Queen of Soul' Aretha Franklin (pic: Ian West/PA Wire)
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A Sheffield songwriter who penned a hit song for Aretha Franklin has paid tribute to the 'Queen of Soul', saying she will be remembered as the 'best ever'.

The music world is in mourning today after the soul legend died this morning, aged 76, of pancreatic cancer.

Award-winning music producer Eliot Kennedy in his Sheffield studio

Award-winning music producer Eliot Kennedy in his Sheffield studio

Eliot Kennedy, who lives in Millhouses, co-wrote the Grammy Award-winning tune Never Gonna Break My Faith with Bryan Adams for the 2006 film Bobby, about Robert F Kennedy's assassination.

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When he first heard it performed by Ms Franklin, who famously said she had to sing it as it contained the best lyrics she'd heard in 20 years, he says her rendition reduced him to tears and sent a shiver down his spine.

Although he never met the great woman, he joined the rest of the music industry in paying tribute to her huge talent.

"She will be remembered as the best ever, and I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to play a small part in her remarkable life," said the 49-year-old, who records at Steelworks Studios in Sheffield city centre and has also written and produced for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion and Take That.

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"No one could match her ability to speak to people with that voice, that emotion and that passion.

"She could convey emotion in every word she sang, reducing you to tears or bringing a smile to your face.

"She had that rare ability to fill a stadium with the power of her voice and to reach into the back row and touch someone with the same emotion as someone in the front row.

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"It's amazing to think what she had to go through to be heard in a country that even today is struggling with race problems, but that voice had to be heard."

Announcing her death today, Ms Franklin's family said they lacked the words to express the 'pain in our heart', having lost the 'matriarch and rock of our family'.

They added that they had been 'deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support' from friends and fans alike, and said it brought them comfort to know her legacy will live on.