Remembering Aretha Franklin: Performing Live At Fillmore West In 1971

With the death of Aretha Franklin three years ago today at the age of 76, the world lost one of the most talented musicians to ever live. The highly decorated and accomplished performer’s career was filled with a seemingly countless array of highlights. Among those was the live album Aretha Live At Fillmore West, which featured recordings from Franklin’s three-night stand at the famed San Francisco concert hall in March 1971.

In honor of the Queen Of Soul, JamBase presents archival footage of one of the three concerts that made up Aretha Live At Fillmore West. From the Music Vault cache of remarkable concert films, below is Franklin’s complete final night performance on March 7, 1971.

Franklin sang and played Fender Rhodes while supported by saxophonist King Curtis and his band The Kingpins made up of drummer Bernard Purdie, guitarist Cornell Dupree, bassist Jerry Jemmott, percussionist Pancho Morales and keyboardist Truman Thomas. Also onstage was organist Billy Preston, The Memphis Horns — trumpeters Wayne Jackson and Roger Hopps, tenor saxophonists Andrew Love and Lou Collins, baritone saxophonist Jimmy Mitchell trombonist Jack Hale — and backing vocalists The Sweethearts Of Soul consisting of Barbara Bryant, Margaret Branch and Pat Smith.

Franklin brings Ray Charles out at the end of the set during a rousing “Spirit In The Dark.” That collaboration comes after performances of such Aretha classics as “Respect” and “Dr. Feelgood” as well as her standout arrangements of contemporary hits like The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Watch the Queen Of Soul’s outstanding performance here:


Aretha Franklin at Fillmore West

  • Respect  
  • Call Me
  • Love the One You’re With  
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water  
  • Share Your Love With Me  
  • Eleanor Rigby  
  • Make It With You  
  • Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)  
  • You’re All I Need to Get By  
  • Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)
  • Spirit in the Dark
  • Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)  

[Originally Published: August 17, 2018]