One of Aretha Franklin's Iconic Performances: 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at 2009 Obama Inauguration

Playing Aretha Franklin Sings 'My Country, 'Tis of Thee' at Obama's Inauguration

One of Aretha Franklin's most compelling performances was her rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009.

The Queen of Soul died Thursday of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

A longtime favorite of Obama's, Franklin braved frigid temperatures in Washington, D.C., that January day back in 2009 to sing at the outdoor swearing-in of America's first African-American president.

Franklin was on hand for Obama's entire day, from the ceremony to the ball, and had a blast, she told TV host Larry King.

"What a tremendous, mammoth morning, evening, the ball, everything, from one event to the other, was just too much," she said. 

She was bundled against the cold in gray gloves, a gray coat and a gray hat sporting a big bow studded with Swarovski crystals. 

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to talk about her hat and it launched a series of memes that burned up the internet.

Franklin purchased it from a millinery she frequented in Detroit.

And despite the thunderous applause and praise she received for her performance, Franklin was displeased with it.

"I don't have to tell you," she said on King's talk show, "it was freezing, if you were there. Some singers it doesn't bother and others it does. I don't care for it. It affected my voice."

RELATED STORIES

Hillary Clinton, Barbra Streisand, Clive Davis and More Pay Tribute to Late Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin Dies at 76

Aretha Franklin Is 'Gravely Ill': Report