Sid Bernstein Dead: Brought The Beatles to the United States

Aug 21 2013, 1:42pm CDT | by ABC News Radio

Sid Bernstein Dead: Brought The Beatles to the United States
Photo Credit: ABC News Radio

Photo: Bill Bernstein(NEW YORK) -- Sid Bernstein, the promoter who first brought The Beatles and other famous British Invasion bands to the United States, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

Bernstein first booked the Fab Four into New York City's Carnegie Hall in 1964 for a concert after their historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, arranging the show, he claimed, eight months before the group had made any major inroads into the U.S. charts.  He also organized the band's landmark concert at Shea Stadium, thereby becoming the first promoter to bring a rock act to a U.S. sports stadium.

Speaking a few years ago with ABC News Radio, Bernstein recalled making arrangements with Beatles manager Brian Epstein for the band to play Carnegie Hall.

"Even before…Ed Sullivan booked them, I made a deal with [Epstein] in early '63 to bring them over," he remembered.  "I said, 'Can I do it six months from now?'  He said, 'No.'  He said, 'I won't let them come there and play to empty houses.'  I said, 'I'd like to have them a year from now,' so we agreed on February 12, 1964, Carnegie Hall."

Among the other bands whose first U.S. concerts were promoted by Bernstein were The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Herman's Hermits and The Moody Blues.  In addition, he had a long association with the American pop-rock group The Rascals, helping them rise to stardom.  He also worked with or helped promote shows by a wide variety of other acts throughout the years, including James Brown, Ray Charles, Sly and the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, ABBA and Frank Sinatra.

Bernstein co-wrote a pair of books about his eventful career -- It's Sid Bernstein Calling and Not Just the Beatles ... -- and was the subject of a 2010 documentary about his life called Sid Bernstein Presents…  Last year, Bernstein released his first album, also called titled Sid Bernstein Presents…, which featured versions of John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Love" and select other cover tunes.

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