1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Aretha Franklin medley on the Grammy Awards
Lucy Nicholson  /  Reuters
Yolanda Adams (from left), Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch perform a medley of Aretha Franklin's hit songs to open the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
updated 2/13/2011 9:11:57 PM ET 2011-02-14T02:11:57

Aretha Franklin missed Sunday's Grammy Awards, but the Queen of Soul was far from forgotten.

The show's first 15 minutes were devoted to Franklin, who was hospitalized last year and has canceled concerts and personal appearances through May.

Slideshow: The 2011 Grammy Awards (on this page)

LL Cool J reminded audience members of Franklin's 18 Grammy wins at the start of the show, just before singers Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride and others performed a rousing medley of some of the music legend's greatest hits.

  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

"Aretha Franklin is, and always be, the Queen of Soul," LL Cool J said. "Tonight, she's the queen of our hearts, too, and the queen of the Grammys."

Story: The Lady (Antebellum) is a champ

The musical tribute opened with "Natural Woman," before moving into solos of "Respect" by Hudson, "Think" by Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine and "Sprit in the Dark" by Yolanda Adams.

It was an upbeat start to the show and if there was any doubt about Franklin's health, she made her first nationally televised appearance in a taped message Sunday night.

Wearing a white strapless gown, Franklin, 68, appeared to have lost weight, but made clear she had no intention of leaving the music scene anytime soon.

Slideshow: 2011 Grammys red carpet (on this page)

"I wish that I could have been with you all tonight, but since I couldn't ā€” next year, OK?" Franklin said in the taped message.

Franklin had surgery late last year for an undisclosed ailment. She was photographed Friday.

She was certainly on the minds of fellow artists, including Lenny Kravitz, who credited Franklin's influence for part of his musical career.

"She's the queen," Kravitz told The Associated Press before the Grammys. "She's it. She's part of why I do what I do."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Awards show

loading photos...
  1. A tribute to Aretha Franklin

    The show kicked off with, from left, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch performing a tribute to soul queen Aretha Franklin at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Muse

    Matt Bellamy of Muse performed the group's hit song "Uprising" at the Grammys. The group won for best rock album for "The Resistance." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga and her backup dancers performed her new single "Born This Way" in yolk-colored outfits after she emerged from her egg on stage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Train

    Pop group Train accepted their award for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for their hit "Hey, Soul Sister." (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Janelle Monae

    Singer Janelle Monae went crowd surfing during her performance of "Cold War." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Miranda Lambert

    Singer Miranda Lambert won the award for best female country vocal performance for "The House That Built Me." She also performed the tune. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Bruno Mars

    Singer Bruno Mars performed his hit song "Grenade," and also offered "Nothin' on You" with B.o.B. and Janelle Monae. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga won for best pop vocal album for "The Fame Monster." During her acceptance speech, the singer said that when she was writing "Born This Way," she pictured Whitney Houston performing it. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Lady Antebellum

    The members of Lady Antebellum, from left, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood paid tribute to Teddy Pendergrass by kicking off their performance with his hit "If You Don't Know Me By Now." The act then transitioned to the group's "American Honey" and "Need You Now." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan, third from right, and the bands The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons performed "Maggie's Farm" at the Grammys. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Justin Bieber and Usher

    Justin Bieber, left, helped wrap up Usher's performance of "OMG." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Paramore and Pauley Perrette

    "NCIS" actress Pauley Perrette, second from right, and Paramore presented the award for best rock album, which went to Muse for "The Resistance." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow

    Cee Lo Green, left, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow performed his hit song "F--- You," which was nominated for five awards. (Muppets provided backup vocals!) Not surprisingly, several lines of the tune were bleeped. Paltrow performed the clean version of the song, "Forget You," on "Glee" in season two. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Katy Perry

    Katy Perry kicked off her act with "Not Like the Movies," which segued into "Teenage Dream." During the latter song, a video of her wedding to comedian Russell Brand played behind her. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Rihanna and Eminem

    Eminem and Rihanna performed his hit "Love the Way You Lie," which also featured her vocals on the album version. The song was nominated for five awards. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban

    From left, John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban performed "Jolene" in honor of Dolly Parton, who received the lifetime achievement award. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Esperanza Spalding

    Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding was a surprise win for best new artist. She beat out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons to take the honor. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Barbra Streisand

    Barbra Streisand performed her 1978 Grammy-winning tune "Evergreen," and later presented the award for album of the year. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger performed live for the first time at the Grammys with "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," a tribute to Solomon Burke. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Drake and Rihanna

    Singer Drake performed "What's My Name" with Rihanna around a big bonfire. Drake was nominated for four awards, and Rihanna's song "Only Girl (In the World)" won for best dance recording (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Arcade Fire

    The Arcade Fire pulled out a huge surprise win when they beat out Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry for the big album of the year trophy. The band's performance was also their first ever at the Grammys. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image: Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch
    Matt Sayles / AP
    Above: Slideshow (21) The 2011 Grammy Awards - Awards show
  2. Image: Lady Gaga
    Danny Moloshok / Reuters
    Slideshow (31) The 2011 Grammy Awards - Red carpet
  3. Image: Lady Gaga
    Danny Moloshok / Reuters
    Slideshow (31) 2011 Grammys red carpet - Red carpet
  4. Image: Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch
    Matt Sayles / AP
    Slideshow (21) 2011 Grammys red carpet - Awards show