Aug 22, 2013

By Scott Walker

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One of the men credited with starting the British Invasion has died.

Sid Bernstein was taking a university course in 1963 that required him to read British newspapers. He kept seeing articles on the growing phenomenon of the Beatles in the UK, and decided to book the group for a concert at Carnegie Hall in early 1964. The Beatles were still unknown in the US, so it was a big gamble. Then Ed Sullivan announced he would be presenting the Beatles on his network TV show, and the pandemonium that followed helped to sell out Bernstein’s concert. In fact, Carnegie Hall officials told Bernstein he could have sold out 50 concerts, and that gave him the idea of booking New York’s Shea stadium for a concert the following year. Bernstein began the trend of presenting rock bands in sports venues.

Bernstein also promoted other British Invasion bands, most notably the Rolling Stones. He was also the first mainstream impresario to book black artists in the Sixties.

Sid Bernstein was 95.

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