"Aretha Franklin’s 1971 stand at the Fillmore West was meant, by her and her longtime producer Jerry Wexler, as a coronation. She’d spent the better part of the previousfive years at the top of the charts, and she toured stadiums around the U.S., but Wexler and Franklin were curious how powerful her crossover potential actually was. Would she go over with crowds used to seeing the Grateful Dead or Janis Joplin or The Allman Brothers Band? It was a moment to test Franklin’s mettle on an away court, the musical version of a football team dominating so mightily that they decide to conquer baseball too. When it came time to book the band backing Franklin at the Fillmore, Wexler and Franklin needed one that could both rock and fit the bill for the tightest soul outfit running, especially since Booker T. & the M.G.’s had folded up shop by then. The group would open the Fillmore shows and then back up Franklin. There was only one choice: the man who played the sax lines on “Respect” and who more or less gave the saxophone to rock ’n’ roll at the start of the genre. A man who’d be dead a mere week after he released an album of his band’s own set at the Fillmore. That man was, of course, King Curtis."