The late Bill Graham was an instrumental figure in the popular explosion of '60s rock—an ingenious concert promoter and impresario who managed the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco and the Fillmore East (R.I.P.) in NYC, producing legendary shows and influencing the trajectories of the eras most iconic artists. Graham touched the careers of everyone from The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Led Zeppelin, The Band, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and countless others.
Now a new exhibit at the New-York Historical Society will celebrate the man, myth and legend, who was raised in the Bronx by a foster family after emigrating to New York from Germany (by way of France) as part of a Red Cross effort to save Jewish children fleeing the Nazis. His mother was killed while being transported to Auschwitz, he would later learn (his father had died in the 1930s from a blood infection).
Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution, which originally debuted in Los Angeles, is the most comprehensive retrospective of Graham’s life and career ever, with tons of musical and cultural artifacts from throughout the second half of the 20th century. The exhibit has more than 300 objects, including rock memorabilia, photographs, and concert posters, and will focus on Graham's connections to New York.
Unique to the NYC exhibit will be an immersive audio experience, providing a musical tour featuring songs by Aerosmith, Blondie, David Bowie, Cream, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Tom Petty, and Neil Young, and more. There is also a recreation of "The Joshua Light Show,” the liquid light show conceived in 1967 by artist Joshua White that served as a psychedelic backdrop to Graham’s concert productions in New York.
You can check out some of the amazing photos and artifacts from the collection in the gallery up above.
The exhibit will open February 14th, and run through August 23rd, at New-York Historical Society, located at 170 Central Park West. You can get all ticket information here.