08/01/2018

Bill Graham

 Bill Graham (January 8, 1931 – October 25, 1991) was a German-American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death in 1991 in a helicopter crash. In 1941 he was sent from Germany to France to escape the Holocaust. At age 10 he settled in a foster home in the Bronx, New York. Graham graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and from City College with a business degree.
Graham was born Wulf Wolodia Grajonca in Berlin, the youngest child and only son of lower middle-class parents, Frieda (née Sass) and Yankel Grajonca, who had emigrated from Russia before the rise of Nazism. His father died two days after his son's birth.
Graham was nicknamed "Wolfgang" by his family early in life. Due to the increasing peril to Jews in Germany, Graham's mother placed her son and her youngest daughter, Tolla, in a Berlin orphanage, which sent them to France in a pre–Holocaust exchange of Jewish children for Christian orphans. Graham's older sisters stayed behind with their mother. After the fall of France, Graham was among a group of Jewish orphans spirited out of France, some of whom finally reached the USA. But a majority, including Tolla Grajonca, did not survive the difficult journey. He was one of the One Thousand Children (OTC), those mainly Jewish children who managed to flee Hitler and Europe, and come directly to North America, but whose parents were forced to stay behind. Nearly all these OTC parents were killed by the Reich. Graham's mother died at Auschwitz. Graham had five sisters, Rita, Evelyn, Sonia, Ester and Tolla, the elder four of whom survived the Holocaust. Rita and Ester moved to the United States and were close to Graham in his later life. Evelyn and Sonia escaped the Holocaust, first to Shanghai, and later, after the war, to Europe.
In the early 1960s, he moved to San Francisco, and, in 1965, began to manage The San Francisco Mime troupe. He had teamed up with local Haight Ashbury promoter Chet Helms and Family Dog, and their network of contacts to organize a benefit concert, then promoted several free concerts. This eventually turned into a profitable full-time career and he assembled a talented staff. Graham had a profound influence around the world, sponsoring the musical renaissance of the '60s from the epicenter, San Francisco. Chet Helms then Bill Graham made famous the Fillmore and Winterland Arena; these turned out to be a proving grounds for rock bands and acts of the San Francisco Bay area including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin who were first managed, and in some cases developed, by Chet Helms.
Graham was killed in a helicopter crash west of Vallejo, California on October 25, 1991, while returning home from a Huey Lewis and the News concert at the Concord Pavilion. Graham had attended the event to discuss promoting a benefit concert for the victims of the 1991 Oakland firestorm. Once he had obtained the commitment from Huey Lewis to perform, he returned to his helicopter. Flying in severe weather, with rain and gusty winds, the aircraft flew off course and too low to the ground over the tidal marshland north of San Pablo Bay. The Bell Jet Ranger flew directly into a 223-foot (68-meter) high-voltage tower near where Highway 37, which runs between Vallejo, California and Marin County, California, crosses Sonoma Creek. The helicopter burst into flames on impact, killing Graham, pilot Steve Kahn and Graham's girlfriend, Melissa Gold, ex-wife of author Herbert Gold. The charred remains of the helicopter hung grotesquely in the tower for more than a day.

26195940_10215595092449537_9006112499850011166_n.jpg

 Facebook | | |

Écrire un commentaire

NB : Les commentaires de ce blog sont modérés.