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Old Aug 22, 2013, 06:16 PM   #1
CWW
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Default Sid Bernstein 1918-2013

Sad news, Sid played a very important role in Beatles and Rock concert history - not only bringing the Fabs to The US for the first time, but also the pivotal Shea Stadium Concert , introducing and basically singehandledly inventing the era of Stadium rock..

Also did SO much more than Just The Beatles..A thoughoully fascinating character, who loved life and music, still managing bands and going out late to see gigs well into his 90's! An inspiration to all..I was lucky enough to see the 2010 doco "Sid Bernstein Presents" At its world premiere with the director in attendance for a Q&A a couple of years ago. Not sure where else its shown, DVD rights etc were going to be difficult to get due to copyright etc but its a fascinating and engaging watch.

RIP Sid

http://www.theguardian.com/music/201.../sid-bernstein


Early in 1963, Queenie Epstein received a transatlantic phone call at her suburban home in Liverpool. On the line was Sid Bernstein, a New York City concert promoter in search of her son Brian, manager of the Beatles, who were then in the first flush of national fame. Bernstein, who has died aged 95, was an anglophile who had been stationed in Britain during the second world war and kept in touch by reading any British newspapers he could find in New York. He had not yet heard any Beatles records, but was intrigued by press accounts of the Beatlemania that was sweeping the UK and had become convinced that the group could be a hit in America.

When Brian Epstein came to the phone, Bernstein immediately offered to put the Beatles on at Carnegie Hall, one of the most prestigious venues in New York. Epstein was cautious, as the group was unknown in America and he was afraid of them playing to a room full of empty seats. In the end, he was persuaded he should take the group to the US in a year's time, February 1964.

The timing was propitious as, shortly before the shows, not only had the group's North American label Capitol decided to spend $40,000 on promoting Beatles records, but Epstein had booked the group for a number of television appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. On hearing that, Bernstein said: "I knew I was home because, in those days, when you appeared twice on Sullivan you were a star."

The shows were sellouts and Bernstein's hunch had been vindicated, so in 1965 he promoted the group to more than 55,000 people at Shea Stadium, at that time the largest crowd for a pop concert. As well as further Beatles shows, among them a return to Shea Stadium in 1966, he then introduced a succession of other British Invasion groups to the US, including the Rolling Stones and the Kinks.

Bernstein was born in New York and was adopted by a Russian Jewish tailor and his wife. While studying journalism at Columbia University, he took a job at a Brooklyn ballroom that featured Latin music. He joined the US army in 1943, serving in an anti-aircraft battalion in the Battle of the Bulge. After demobilisation, he returned to the entertainment industry, acting as the manager of the mambo star Esy Morales and booking bands to play at hotels in the resorts of the Catskills region of New York state. In the early 1950s, Bernstein joined the giant booking agency General Artists Corporation (GAC). There he booked concerts for Tony Bennett, Judy Garland and Duke Ellington. The rise of rock'n'roll found Bernstein in the teenage stars division of GAC, working with such singers as Dion and Chubby Checker.

It was at this point that he made the fateful phone call to Liverpool. Nobody else in GAC's New York or London offices was interested in the Beatles, so Bernstein booked Carnegie Hall on his own behalf, borrowing money to pay the deposit. He also described the Beatles to the hall's management as "four young men who are a phenomenon in England", which they assumed meant that this was a string quartet. The management was incandescent when they saw and heard a pop group in their hallowed precincts, but the success of the Beatles concerts cemented Bernstein's relationship with Epstein. They joked about the pronunciation of their names – "he called himself Epstyne and I told him I was Bernsteen" – and they never had a written contract. As Bernstein put it: "Everything with Brian was a verbal handshake over the phone."

After the Beatles retired from touring in 1966, Bernstein offered them a million dollars to do a final live show. And after they split up in 1970, Bernstein was among the most assiduous of those determined to persuade them to re-form. At one point, he took out full-page newspaper advertisements pleading with them to play a date to raise money for Cambodian refugees.

In addition to his support for British bands in the 1960s, Bernstein managed the careers of such New York acts as the Young Rascals and the singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. He was active in charitable causes, including some linked to Liverpool, a city he visited a number of times as a guest of the Epstein family.

In 2000 he published a memoir, Not Just the Beatles … , co-written with Arthur Aaron. It was later reissued as It's Sid Bernstein Calling … A documentary film of his career, Sid Bernstein Presents … , was made in 2010 by Jason Ressler and two years ago Bernstein made his debut as a singer, recording an album of show tunes, also called Sid Bernstein Presents …

Bernstein is survived by his wife, Geraldine, whom he married in 1963; six children, Adam, Etienne, Beau, Dylan, Casey and Denise; and six grandchildren.

• Sidney Bernstein, concert promoter, born 12 August 1918; died 21 August 2013
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 06:17 PM   #2
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oops double up! Maybe we could close one of these? Sid no doubt having a chuckle about this!
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWW View Post
I was lucky enough to see the 2010 doco "Sid Bernstein Presents" At its world premiere with the director in attendance for a Q&A a couple of years ago. Not sure where else its shown, DVD rights etc were going to be difficult to get due to copyright etc but its a fascinating and engaging watch.
I remember you seeing that! It sounded really interesting.

Sid seemed like a sweet man. May his journey home be swift and beautiful.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Nat Weiss Sid Bernstein Tony Sheridan the players in the story are becoming less and less. I guess time has a way of doing that.
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