Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
ARETHA FRANKLIN | Aretha Live at Fillmore West
Selected by Sonya Alexander
"Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin has numerous live albums. However, Aretha Live at Fillmore West lets her spread her wings a bit and delve into the "hippie" sound. Since the acclaimed Fillmore West rock venue was in San Francisco, the heart of "hippie" culture, her setlist contained songs written by Stephen Stills, Lennon-McCartney, David Gates and Paul Simon, which she took to whole new levels with her stirring, soulful voice.
Recorded over 3 nights in March of 1971, the album is her second live LP and sets the bar high for live albums because of the sheer power of her effortless vocals. It opens with her popular and notable rendition of Otis Redding's "Respect" and ends with Ashford and Simpson's "Reach Out and Touch," an electrifying spiritual anthem.
Aretha at Fillmore West is Aretha embracing the "hippie" culture and it embracing her back. Released on May 19, 1971 on Atlantic Records, its brilliance hasn’t dimmed over the years and remains one of the queen’s best.