Bernstein in 2009
August 12, 1918|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 21, 2013
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Rock promoter, music producer|
Sid Bernstein (August 12, 1918 – August 21, 2013) was an American music producer and promoter. Bernstein changed the American music scene in the 1960s by bringing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits, The Moody Blues, and The Kinks to America. He was the first impresario to organize rock concerts at sports stadiums.
In late December 1963, the unknown Beatles were introduced to the Tidewater area of Virginia. Almost every other song played by the area’s DJs were Beatle records, accompanied by giveaways of shirts, etc. The following month in very early January 1964, the same phenomenon occurred, as the Beatles were introduced to the New York City area complemented by all sorts of contests and gifts.
They played at Carnegie Hall after their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Bernstein also booked them at Shea Stadium, a concert that Bernstein described as "inaudible." During the Beatles Shea concert, Bernstein had the phrase "The Rascals are coming!" displayed on the Shea Stadium scoreboard. "I had met the Rascals in the summer of '65; I put their name up on the scoreboard (at Shea) - 'The Rascals are coming! The Rascals are coming!' A lot of people who hadn't seen pictures of them thought they were a black group. I sensed something big about them."
He worked with the Rascals for five years, helping along their rise from obscurity, changing their name from "The Rascals" to "The Young Rascals" in an attempt to avoid controversy because of a similar named group.
Bernstein also organized concerts for Lenny Kravitz, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Laura Branigan, Melanie and Sly & the Family Stone. In 1964, he brought many Israeli singers to the United States for their first major concerts, among them Shoshana Damari, Shaike Ophir and Yaffa Yarkoni, who appeared at Carnegie Hall a year after the Beatles. He was the first to stage a rock show at Madison Square Garden.
Bernstein died on August 21, 2013 in Manhattan. He was 95. Bernstein is survived by his wife Geraldine Gale; and their sons Adam, Etienne, Beau and Dylan; daughters Casey Deutsch and Denise Bernstein; and six grandchildren.
Bernstein wrote or coauthored several books:
- It's Sid Bernstein Calling (Jonathan David Publishers)
- Not Just the Beatles ... (Jacques & Flusster Publishing)
At age 93, Bernstein released his first album as a singer. Sid Bernstein Presents... is a collection of some of his favorite songs, and was released on February 14, 2012 as a digital download. The album is available at the iTunes Store, CD Baby, and other online outlets.
Sid Bernstein Presents...
Bernstein is also the subject of Sid Bernstein Presents..., a documentary film that details his storied career and life. The film made its world premiere at the DocNZ film festival in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2010.
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- Harry, Bill. The Beatles Who's Who, Putnam Publishing Group, 1982.
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- Falco, Sue (2001-02-23). "Lenny Kravitz May Play Shea, Promoter Says". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2008-12-14.