FRITZ RAU DIES AT 83.
Concert organizer and music mogul Fritz Rau died aged 83 in Kronberg, near Frankfurt. His family said on Tuesday that Rau had passed away the day before.
A few words from Ian Anderson:
My dear friend and long-standing German promoter, Fritz Rau, died aged 83 on Monday 19th August.
Fritz was the one who, along with his co-promoter Horst Lippmann, brought Jethro Tull to Germany for the first time in 1969 at the kind suggestion of Jimi Hendrix. Over the years we played many concerts with Fritz at the helm and only in old age did he relinquish the crown and give up work apart from occasional lecture visits where he spoke warmly, often to an audience of enthusiastic young students, of his life and times.
Dear Fritz – we miss you and will always remember your humour, inspiration and dedication to the live music industry. Always the music fan first and the businessman second. Rest, not in peace, but in the bosom of whatever music they play over there. Jazz bass? Could be time to take it up again.
Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull
Rau was born in 1930 in Pforzheim in southwest Germany. He trained to become a lawyer and briefly worked as one, but his real passion was always music. What's more, Rau's love lay in jazz, blues and pop music, meaning he looked abroad to foreign stars when thinking of setting up a serious business as a concert organizer.
He had begun to dabble in the trade even as a student in Heidelberg, bringing some of the biggest names of the 1950s - Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald - over to Germany.
Together with his friend Horst Lipmann, Rau set up the "Lippmann and Rau" concert agency, a business that was catapulted to the music scene's attention with its organization of the American Folk Blues Festival. The festival toured Europe, starting in 1962. Rau and Lippmann had sought out comparatively underground performers like Bukka White, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson - names they helped establish in Europe.
Over the decades, Rau worked with most of the great names of modern popular music. He brought the Rolling Stones to Germany for their first tour in the country, and set up gigs for Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Miles Davis, Queen, The Who, Tina Turner, Madonna, Eric Clapton, ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and many more.
He also dedicated time to promoting and helping German artists like Udo Lindenberg and Peter Maffay. Maffay, a musician with a German "Schlager" - a mixture of soft pop and folk music - background, wrote about Rau for the Frankfurter Rundschau paper when the music mogul turned 80. He recalled one of his biggest chances, when he was allowed to open for the Rolling Stones at Munich's Olympic Stadium in 1982.
"Our playlist was soft. Much too soft for a hot afternoon, for the blood-alcohol level of the audience," Maffay wrote. "First there were boos, then coke bottles were flying - then vegetables and eggs. We played on, dodging the missiles to left and right like boxers. Suddenly, a large man bounded onto the stage, stood in front of us, stretched his arms wide and yelled to the crowd: 'If you're bombarding them, you'll have to bombard me too!'"
Rau retired from public life in 2004 and wrote a book on his life with the stars, called "50 Jahre [years] Backstage."
msh/jm (AFP, dpa)
SID BERNSTEIN DIES AT 95.
Sid Bernstein, who helped import The Beatles, dies at 95.
Sid Bernstein died yesterday. Sid was a visionary who persuaded Shea Stadium that a pop concert could sell out their 55,000 tickets and presented The Beatles in 1965, blazing the way for Jethro Tull to also sell out there in 1976.
Sid Bernstein, the soft-spoken impresario whose long career included bringing the Beatles to Carnegie Hall in 1964 and Shea Stadium in 1965, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 95.
Mr. Bernstein had built a varied career by early 1963, when he became fascinated with the Beatles after reading British newspaper coverage of the hysteria that typically erupted at their concerts. He had by then presented a West Coast tour by Tito Puente and concerts by Miles Davis, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Nina Simone and Ruth Brown.
But getting the Beatles was not easy. At the General Artists Corporation, where Mr. Bernstein was earning $200 a week booking and promoting concerts, he was unable to stir up any interest among his colleagues, particularly after the agency’s representative in London assured him that the group was strictly a local phenomenon.
Mr. Bernstein persisted, telephoning the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, at home in Liverpool in March 1963 and proposing they perform at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Epstein found the idea tantalizing but had reservations: the group’s early records, released in the United States on small labels, were getting no airplay and were not selling well, and he had no intention of having the Beatles fail in America.
Mr. Bernstein offered $6,500 for two shows and proposed a date three months away. Mr. Epstein said he would not bring the group to New York before 1964, assuming they had made headway in the American market by then. Paging through his desk calendar, Mr. Bernstein proposed Feb. 12 — a national holiday (Lincoln’s Birthday in those days), when youngsters would be out of school. Mr. Epstein agreed, and Mr. Bernstein quickly booked two shows for that night.
As it turned out, Ed Sullivan had booked the group for three consecutive appearances on his Sunday-night variety show, where they appeared on Feb. 9. Mr. Epstein, meanwhile, persuaded Capitol Records to release the Beatles’ single “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in late December and to commit $40,000 to promoting the group and its album “Meet the Beatles.” (Capitol, the American affiliate of EMI, the band’s British label, had earlier turned down their recordings.) The Carnegie Hall shows sold out quickly.
After his success with the Beatles, Mr. Bernstein presented the Rolling Stones at Carnegie Hall. But complaining that the Stones’ fans were rude to the ushers, stood on the seats and generally made a mess of the stately hall, the Carnegie booking manager banned him from presenting shows there for several years. Instead, Mr. Bernstein presented the Kinks, the Animals and other British bands at the Paramount Theater in Times Square and the Academy of Music downtown.
In October 1964 Mr. Bernstein approached the management of Shea Stadium about a Beatles appearance. Stadium officials doubted that he could sell 55,600 tickets to a pop concert, but he knew better. The show quickly sold out. The Beatles received $180,000 for the show on Aug. 15, 1965; Mr. Bernstein said that after expenses he made a profit of only $6,500.
Mr. Bernstein booked the Beatles for a second Shea Stadium concert on Aug. 23, 1966. But because of the furor over John Lennon’s assertion that the band was more popular than Jesus, and perhaps also because of the fickleness of the teenage audience, thousands of tickets went unsold. The Beatles were fed up with live performances by that point, and when their 1966 North American tour ended, they retired from the stage, deciding to devote themselves instead to recording.
Mr. Bernstein tried to lure them back to Shea Stadium in 1967, reportedly offering them $1 million, but they were making no exceptions.
After the Beatles broke up in 1970, he tried regularly, in vain, to get them to reunite, first with lavish monetary offers and later with the promise that the money they raised would be used for disaster relief or charity.
In September 1976 he took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times to propose that the Beatles perform, together or separately, in a globally televised concert at which ticketholders would donate food or clothing, to be distributed in impoverished countries.