HE CHANGED LIVE MUSIC FOREVER
AND LEFT A MARK ON AMERICAN CULTURE THAT'LL NEVER FADE
On this day in 1991 one of music's most influential, charismatic and volatile individuals, Bill Graham, died in a helicopter crash in Concord, California. Just 60 years old, Graham was, in many ways, the epitome of '60s Boomer ingenuity, a marvel of counter-culture savvy and Wall Street business smarts. A strong divider of opinion, Graham helped myriad now legendary acts get their starts and learn how to turn a dime with their music. He helped stoke the '60s blues revival and he altered the whole concept of a music club for future generations. There's much that can be said about the man, but, for some of us, he may be best remembered for his frequent, often hilarious appearances at Grateful Dead shows in the Bay Area. For all his millions, there remained a mischievous spark that surfaced most brightly around Jerry and the boys. We pause to remember him and honor his legacy today and encourage y'all to do the same.
Here's Graham talking running the Fillmore venues accompanied by vintage artwork.
Travel back to New Year's Eve in 1987 and Graham's entrance to chime in 1988 in Oakland, California. Those of us that were there surely remember this flucking surreal scene.
The 1991 memorial concert for Graham, "Laughter, Love, and Music," in San Francisco was understandably emotional for all involved, and this raw reading of Dylan's "Forever Young" by the Grateful Dead and Neil Young is a prime example.
Swing back to 1972 and Graham talking about Jerry Garcia during a rehearsal for a New Riders of the Purple Sage gig at The Fillmore.
We conclude our remembrance of Bill Graham with the Dead at "Laughter, Love, and Music" doing "Sunshine Daydream," a phrase that, in its way, touches upon the underlying, music loving principles that set Graham on his life's path, a journey that mixed idealism and capitalism in a way that's instructional to anyone looking to wring a dollar out of the creative life.
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