Elton John Pays Tribute to Aretha Franklin at Final North American Show
Elton John paid tribute to a true Michigan legend, the late Aretha Franklin as he performed his final US show last night (11/20) in Los Angeles.
Farewell Yellow Brick Road
Elton's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour has gone on for over three years after being derailed temporarily during the pandemic. The tour began in Allentown, Pennsylvania in September of 2018 and included a stop at Detroit's Comerica Park before wrapping up with three shows at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Honoring the Queen of Soul
During his shows, the 75-year-old Rocket Man singer has been paying tribute to the late Aretha Franklin. The legendary Michigan native passed away in August of 2018, but in Elton's words her "lasting genius and legacy" lives on.
John told the crowd of tens of thousands (and millions more streaming on Disney+) that his career began around 1970 and he performed his first show in Los Angeles. Around that time, the lead single from his 'Elton John' album was 'Border Song' and he was honored when Franklin made a cover of it.
"When we put our single out, Aretha Franklin covered the song and put her version out, so Bernie and I being young English kids and young songwriters were so knocked out, so flabbergasted that the Queen of Soul had recorded one of our songs, that it was probably the most exciting thing that had happened to us in our career," he said.
Elton told the crowd that he was honored to record and hang out with Aretha, calling it a 'surreal experience.'
Aretha Franklin's Final Show
Coincidentally, Aretha Franklin's final show was at Elton John's annual AIDS Foundation gala even in New York City.
"She was really, really sick. It was six months before she passed away, she was this thin. Before the show, I went backstage and said, 'Aretha. Let me do it, you're so frail, I'll do it, it's not a problem,'" he said. "She said, 'Honey, two years ago I was supposed to be here and I let you down. I'm not letting you down again.'"
Watch Elton in the video below pay tribute to Michigan's Queen of Soul at his show in Jacksonville, Florida earlier this year.