Elton John honors the' lasting genius' of Aretha Franklin during his final US show

Elton John
Posted at 7:00 AM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 08:24:59-05

Music legend Elton John honored Aretha Franklin during his final American concert last night which took place in Los Angeles.

John, 75, wrapped up his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour in front of tens of thousands Sunday night. The concert was also streamed in front of millions around the world on Disney+.

He was talking about getting his start and his first show in Los Angeles around 1970, saying he had an album out at the time called "Elton John" and the first single was called "Border Song."

"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.

He said in the years that followed, he got to meet her and thank her for it.

"I recorded with her, and I played with her, and I hung with her. It was just a surreal experience to be in the company of such genius," he said.

Franklin performed her final show on Nov. 7, 2017 at Elton John's annual AIDs Foundation gala 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.'"

He said she performed for an hour and 20 minutes and "blew the roof off the cathedral," leaving people in tears.

"I think she was inspired by her surroundings. But it was phenomenal. So I want to dedicate this song to the lasting genius and legacy of Aretha Franklin," he said before he started playing.