The Fillmore is a San Francisco land mark with a great history. This awesome venue has been restored to its former glory and is sure to make memorable mark on the music scene of the future.
The original owner of The Fillmore property, Emma Gates Butler, hired James W. and Merritt Reid in 1910 to draw plans for an Italianate-style dance hall at the southwest corner of Fillmore and Geary. The Majestic Hall and Majestic Academy of Dancing opened in 1912 on the second and third stories of the building, where the usual fare was Wednesday night socials and masquerade balls.
In 1952, local entrepreneur Charles Sullivan began to book some of the biggest names in black music into The Fillmore. Sullivan booked West Coast tours for performers including James Brown, Bobby "Blue" Band and Ike & Tina Turner.
The Fillmore represented the pinnacle of creative music making in the late 1960s. Audiences experienced a 2 1/2 year musical and cultural Renaissance that produced some of the most exciting music ever to come out of San Francisco. The careers of the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and countless others were launched from The Fillmore stage. The most significant musical talent of the day has appeared there: Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters, The Who - well, you get the picture.
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. 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. 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. 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.