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Biography

  • Born

    13 March 1939

  • Born In

    Shelby, Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States

  • Died

    7 September 2002 (aged 63)

Erma Vernice Franklin (March 13, 1938 – September 7, 2002) was an American soul, rhythm and blues, and pop singer. Erma and her sisters, Aretha Franklin and Carolyn Franklin, got their start singing for their father, Reverend C.L. Franklin's, Detroit-area Baptist church.

Erma's best known record is the original version of Piece of My Heart. The song was covered in different arrangements by Janis Joplin, Faith Hill, Beverley Knight, and Dusty Springfield, and used as the basis of a song by Shaggy.

She was born in Shelby, Mississippi, but moved several times during her childhood before settling in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother Barbara, who was a gospel singer, left the family when Erma, her two sisters, and her brother were young children.

Though her sister Aretha went on to great fame, Carolyn, like Erma, was a struggling musician. Their brother, Cecil, became a minister like their father and managed Aretha's career for a while.

Her career was hampered by misfortune and by contracts with recording companies who could not find appropriate material for her. In the 1970s she left the music business, apart from engagements with her sister Aretha. She died in 2002 at the age of 64 after a long battle with throat cancer. In addition to Aretha, she was survived by her daughter Sabrina.

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