BERNSTEIN, SID


BERNSTEIN, SID
BERNSTEIN, SID (1918– ), U.S. music promoter, agent, and manager; most famous for bringing the Beatles to the United States in 1964. Bernstein was born in New York City, the only child and adopted son of Israel and Ida Bernstein, Russian immigrants who came from Lukshivka, a village near Kiev. His parents called Bernstein by his Hebrew name, Simcha. His career already showed promise in high school, when he landed a fellow student a spot on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, a popular radio program in the 1930s and 1940s. After serving as a soldier in France in World War II, Bernstein's show business career started in the Catskill summers of the early 1950s, working as activities director at the Brown's Hotel. Bernstein produced musical shows in New York at the Paramount, the Palace, the Brooklyn Paramount, and the Apollo, and the comeback tour for Judy Garland, but went broke promoting the Newport Jazz Festival in 1961. Bernstein suggested to Tony Bennett that he perform at Carnegie Hall, a performance that was instrumental in boosting Bennett's singing career. In early 1963, reading about a group called the Beatles and the hysteria they were causing in England, he called their manager, brian epstein , to arrange for them to perform in America, and on February 12, 1964, the esteemed Carnegie Hall hosted its first-ever rock concert. On August 15, 1965, Bernstein promoted the Beatles concert at sold-out Shea Stadium in New York, the largest crowd (55,000) for which the Beatles ever played and the first rock concert ever held in a sports stadium. It changed the face of the music business, and Bernstein himself. Bernstein's instinctive vision was evident throughout the era of rock and roll's "British Invasion," when he brought over to the United States other English bands like the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five, the Kinks, the Animals, Manfred Mann, Herman's Hermits, and the Moody Blues. Bernstein also helped promote the careers of James Brown, Ray Charles, John Denver, Joan Baez, Miles Davis, Tito Puente, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Valli, and Frank Sinatra, and was the personal manager of the Rock Hall of Fame group The Young Rascals. But it was for his promotional work with the Beatles that Bernstein will always be remembered. "You know, Sid, at Shea Stadium I saw the top of the mountain," John Lennon once told him. "You know John, so did I," answered Bernstein. (Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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