on 4 June 2011
Enormous (545pp) and definitive - if a little biased now and again! - memoir of Graham's life and times, based entirely on interviews.
With this type of book, the co-author who actually writes the text doesn't so much creatively write as edit, craft and weave his spoken-word material into a narrative. This format can be a little wearing at times for the reader, but in this case it is probably the only way to deal with the subject.
Graham's reminiscences are detailed and where there are any omissions or inaccuracies in his own narrative, Greenfield usually quotes someone else's account to correct him. It has been updated since his death; and there is a full and proper index, always the sign of a good book!
It is chock-full of good stories of course, and any would-be rock historian needs a copy of it on their shelves. The chapter on Led Zeppelin deals with the infamous 1977 Oakland Coliseum attack on one of Graham's staff and Graham tells it like it was. There is plenty on The Band, the Stones, Doors, Cream, the Dead, the Airplane, Hendrix and many more. But there is also much on Graham's personal life and business methods and dealings. Tellingly, he seems to have commanded great loyalty from his employees despite his legendary outbursts of rage and ill-temper.
So this is a good long read and a fine and important addition to anyone's rock library; a true account of one of the 20th century's more extraordinary lives, which you will refer to again and again.
on 22 October 2014
A wonderful piece of work by an incredible individual and maker of the great age of rock'n'roll, who, unfortunately, died too young. The chapters on Led Zeppelin, and his time working as a waiter and fixer in the milieu of the great holiday hotels of the Catskills in the 1950s (where he obviously sharpened his wits for the Fillmore adventure to come), are compelling. A must read for those interested in the music of the 60s and 70s.
on 23 May 2011
I admire what Bill Graham had achieved in the music industry and wanted to read his story. This is an incredible journey and an does not hold back on Bills opinions, his failures and triumphs.
There are many well known people who have contributed to this book, a who who's of music megastars and other well known people in the business.
I was also saddened to read about Bills early life in Germany during the 1930s & 1940s where he suffered enormously.
It's a funny book as well with some hilarious stories about the interactions with musicians and promoters of well known bands.
This is a very well produced and written book that deserves to be read from cover to cover.
5 Stars all the way.
on 1 May 1997
Known for his groundbreaking entrepreneurship as the first rock music promoter, Bill Graham provides some surprises in this outstanding autobiography. His account of his family's flight from the Holocaust provides a moving and gripping first act. There is plenty of color as he essentially invents the "rock concert" as we now know it, and contributions in their own words from key figures in his life provide a well-rounded portrait of this powerful, driven man.
Even if your interest in rock music is small, this biography will hold your attention due to its rich evocation of a fascinating life.
on 16 January 2012
Through a series of interviews, the reader obtains a more direct and personal point of view into Bill Graham's life as well as the history of music during that time. It is written in the same kind of format as Michael Bloomfield's biography (Michael Bloomfield - If You Love These Blues: An Oral History), which is basically in the form of an interview of Bill and of course everybody else involved. What I wanted to find in this book were more pictures of the era and especially the great posters that Fillmore had (from artistic and historic point of view). Just a few black and white pictures. In my opinion there should be a larger photo section with high quality photos. The ones included are really poor in quality. Overall a truly great biography!