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A little something about the place we know and love...

Bill Graham's policy of introducing Fillmore audiences to eclectic musical combinations turned on a generation to the music of people like Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Jimmy Reed, The Staple Singers and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. In the process, Bill created and refined the art and skill of modern concert production as audiences all over the country have come to know it. Bill invited artists like LeRoi Jones, Otis Redding, Lenny Bruce and Chuck Berry to play at The Fillmore - some with a simple phone call, but to woo Otis he went to Macon, Georgia. He went to Wentzville, Missouri to sell Chuck Berry on The Fillmore in person. "Back then, it was a brave move to mix up soul acts with the most extreme of white music at the time. Bill was the first one to do it in a big city on a regular basis," The Stones' Keith Richards says. "Especially in a community joint like The Fillmore where people virtually lived...Bill really did create an opportunity that changed a lot of things."

Bill said farewell to The Fillmore on the Fourth of July with a show featuring Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf and It's a Beautiful Day. The audience for the music had mushroomed, and the shows moved to the Carousel Ballroom at Market and Van Ness in San Francisco (later renamed the Fillmore West) and Winterland. That brought to a close one of the most seminal periods in The Fillmore's long and colorful history.

The Fillmore became a private neighborhood club for a time in the 1970s, and in the early 1980s, Paul Rat produced shows at the building (dubbed the Elite Club) with Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Dead Kennedys, T.S.O.L., Flipper, Public Image Ltd. and others. Bill Graham Presents produced a few events in the building in the 1980s, including the 20th anniversary party for the company, and filmed an HBO Fillmore music special there. In 1986, owners Bert and Regina Kortz hired Michael Bailey to begin producing shows in The Fillmore. The first show was Husker Du on April 30, 1986. But Bill always had a special place in his heart for the first place he ever did shows. On March 3, 1988, he returned to the original Fillmore with a show featuring African reggae act Alpha Blondy & The Solar System and Little Women.

The nightclub wing of Bill Graham Presents produced shows in The Fillmore from March 1988 until the 1989 earthquake. Bill's death in a helicopter accident in October 1991 inspired everyone at Bill Graham Presents to finish one of his final pet projects: to restore and once again make music in the building he loved more than any other. The Fillmore is is carrying on in Bills tradition by continuing to present the best popular music being made today.

Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix

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