Aretha Franklin Refused To Perform Under This Condition

Aretha Franklin was a diva — and she had every right to be. Throughout the course of her career, the "(You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman" singer has amassed tons of accolades including 18 Grammy awards, 17 Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and more than 75 million units sold, per Vanity Fair. She was also the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, per the outlet, but certainly far from the last. 

When Franklin died in August 2018, a long list of impressive stars, including Celine Dion and Patti LaBelle, paid tribute to her at a concert that following January. One of the most stirring performances came from Jennifer Hudson, who performed "Aint No Way," and the event was a reminder of her incredible legacy.

All that to say, every time Franklin graced the stage, she commanded nothing but "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Everyone watched her in awe while she worked her magic, belting out notes that only she could — for decades upon decades of massive performances. She got people on their feet to give her thundering applause. But she also used to make people sweat buckets — literally.

Aretha Franklin didn't allow air-conditioning at her shows

Aretha Franklin loved taking over the stage and performing to a crowd, but under no circumstances did she willingly perform in a venue with air-conditioning. Why? According to Vanity Fair, it was an effort "to protect her voice."

Per Vanity Fair, at the Apollo Theater in 1971, halfway through her hyped performance, she stopped singing cause she felt the air-conditioning had been turned on. "I feel air," she apparently said, walking off immediately. Other musicians who had to work with the Queen of Soul had no choice but to perform in less than cool conditions, as to preserve her voice.

The air-conditioning ban didn't stop on stage, either. Black America Web pointed out that Franklin also preferred her house, dressing rooms, tour buses — and pretty much anywhere else to be AC-free. In the Aretha Franklin tribute on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," Fallon recalled how the rooms being stuffy was a non-issue for the star. "No air conditioning for the whole day, because it's bad for the vocal chords," he said during the show, according to People. "Questlove 'almost' fainted," Fallon also said. "We get to the end of the show ... and she walks out in a long fur coat. She's laughing and goes, 'I'm cold.'"

Cold air Aretha Franklin ruined her VH1 Divas Live rehearsal

If Aretha Franklin wanted something, she made sure to get it — even if it meant skipping an important rehearsal. In 1998, when she was set to perform with the likes of Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, Shania Twain, and Celine Dion for "VH1 Divas Live," she had refused to participate in rehearsals as it broke her AC rule. "She kept saying to me, 'I'll come to The Beacon, I'll do it. But I need that air conditioning off,'" producer Ken Erlich shared with E! News. "So ... I had a guy standing by in the basement of the Beacon who was there to make sure that the air conditioning didn't get turned on when Aretha Franklin came to rehearse."

But there was one little problem — the air conditioning was still on when Franklin arrived. "Anyway, she came to the stage. The person who was guarding the air conditioning unit either took a break or was doing something. Someone turned the air on. And she didn't feel it, but she heard it go on from the stage in the Beacon Theatre. And the next thing I know, she's walking out and she's saying ... I'll see you on Sunday,'" he said.

Luckily, come showtime, Franklin arrived and performed as anticipated, including doing a duet with Carey on "Chain of Fools." And as expected, it was nothing short of legendary.