The legendary music promoter Sid Bernstein has passed away at age 95, reports the BBC.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. Bernstein Introduced America to The Fab Four
Bernstein will be remembered mostly for organizing and staging The Beatles’ legendary concert at Shea Stadium in 1964. He brought The Fab Four over to front the “British Invasion” of pop music.
He had been stationed in England during World War II and upon returning to the US maintained his interest the English newspapers. It was through this interest that he first read about Beatlemania. After contacting the band’s manager Brian Epstein, an agreement was put in place for The Beatles to play Carnegie Hall. When ticket demand skyrocketed, Carnegie Hall’s manager insisted they look for a bigger venue for future concerts. This led Bernstein to book Shea Stadium, the home of the New York Mets, and The Beatles legend was born in the US.
2. Just to Prove it Wasn’t a Fluke, Bernstein Repeated the Act a Year Later
In addition to The Beatles, Bernstein also brought over The Rolling Stones in 1965, successfully promoting their first five US shows.
Bernstein said of his success at promoting the “British Invasion:”
The first dozen groups of the British Invasion were my imports, but look, it was no stroke of genius. I was just doing my homework at the time.
3. He Wasn’t Just an Anglophile
Bernstein’s musical promotion skills were not just limited to British artists. He also organized shows for Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Lenny Kravitz. In addition to all of the stars he worked with over the years, he was the first person to stage a rock concert at Madison Square Garden.
4. He Made Attempts to Get The Beatles to Reform
During the late 1970s Bernstein made several attempts to get The Beatles to reform for charity shows, all of which were unsuccessful.
5. Bernstein is Survived by his Wife of 50 Years
He is survived by his wife Geraldine of 50 years, in addition to his six children and six grandchildren. A New York native, he was born in the city on August 12 1918. Bernstein was adopted by Israel and Ida Bernstein, Russian immigrants who named him Simcha, a Yiddish word for celebration. It was later shortened to Sid.