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R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Aretha Franklin Turns 70 With A BANG!

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Music icon Aretha Franklin turns 70-years old today. See pics from her NYC party and find out about her new record deal inside....

Aretha Franklin celebrated her 70th birthday last night with a swanky party at the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in NYC.  Same place she partied it up for her birthday last year.

She had a three-tier, lime-green birthday cake while the crowd serenaded her with Stevie Wonder’s version of “Happy Birthday.”

With guests like Diane Sawyer, Rev. Al Sharpton, Debra Lee and Clive Davis, the group had a sit-down dinner, saw a dance performance and enjoyed a mini-concert by jazz pianist Kris Bowers.

Aretha also celebrated a new record deal.

“I have re-signed with Clive Davis, so I’m recording with Clive again.  She added, “We’re going to sit together and decide what it is we’re going to record.”

During the party, her longtime companion, Willie Wilkerson, was right by her side.  And when asked whether marriage was still in the future, she said “We’ll see what happens.”

You may receall that last year, Aretha's musical legacy was honored by the Grammys with a well-deserved tribute. No one can deny her impact and importance in shaping pop culture, the blend of R&B and gospel and both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement through song.

Celebrate 'Retha in the gallery....

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