Interview With Sid Bernstein
Five years in the past I had the privilege to spend 4 hours interviewing Sid Bernstein.
Sid Bernstein was the man answerable for bringing the Beatles to America, which could be enough for several previous and present lives. Add to that the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Manfred Mann, and the Dave Clark 5 — just about all the British Invasion. He was additionally the first man to e-book stone island gommato coat a rock and roll act into Carnegie Hall and Madison Sq. Garden the place he broke the color line bringing in James Brown. Oh, and he was also the first to book a rock and roll band right into a stadium (The Beatles in Shea Stadium). I think his biggest accomplishment was that he was as nice a person as he was successful. To rephrase Will Rogers, “I have not met a man that would not like Sid Bernstein.”
JOHN: As a tailor’s son, how did you get entangled in promotions
SID: I went to James Monroe High school, a big faculty within the East Bronx. My first promotion was the primary alumni reunion dance. I received all of the names and addresses out of the yearbook. It came off very properly. So I bought the yearbook from the yr earlier than that and did that class. And the one the 12 months before that was even larger. So my first promotion was in the gym at James Monroe. However my next promotion was on the Hunts Level Palace, which was a much bigger room, and i raised the worth slightly bit. Then I began to e-book Latin dances and concert events.
JOHN: Why Latin
SID: As a result of I lived on Tremont Avenue. It didn’t turn out to be Jewish and Italian. It grew to become very Spanish. My father needed to open up a dry cleaning retailer for me. My head wasn’t into dry cleansing. I said that is fairly good. I am making extra money than my father did. It was a problem and it was unique.
JOHN: You were living by your wits.
SID: Yeah, no matter it was. Yeah, I like that. You can say that. It’s even stronger than that. (laughing)
JOHN: Wits and knowledge.
SID: (joking) In tune with unimaginable instincts.
JOHN: You’re a World Conflict II veteran.
SID: I noticed a whole lot of motion in Europe. I did handle to come back dwelling in a single piece although.
JOHN: How does a guy introduced up on American Swing music return from World Conflict II, where he spent some time in England, and two many years later carry an unknown rock and roll band from Liverpool and guide them into Carnegie Corridor and then Shea Stadium
SID: I loved England’s gentility and its civility. I’m from the Bronx, with a Bronx accent. I love the great thing about its language, the ways it’s spoken. I love the green grass of England and the flowers. I really like the island. It is an island. The folks had been nice. I beloved their type of government, their two houses. When i came again residence, I continued to learn English newspapers. I used to go to the out-of-town newspaper stand on 42nd Avenue. The British newspapers were not as prevalent as they are now. I might decide up one or two papers. I read about four kids creating havoc in the town of Liverpool. I’d never heard of Liverpool earlier than. I knew of London. I heard children were falling for them in different cities. I read the second week, the third week, the fourth week. With each week the tales stored getting larger. I assumed, “This appears to be like like something I should look into.”
JOHN: Where did you go from there, your subsequent step
SID: In some way I find Brian Epstein’s number. I referred to as him up. He hadn’t but moved his operation to England. His mom answered the telephone.
JOHN: The Beatles’ manager’s mother answered the telephone
SID: Brian was still residing at residence, upstairs. His mom calls him to the cellphone. I can still hear the footsteps coming down the stairs prefer it was yesterday. That’s a phone name I will always remember.
JOHN: I’d never forget that, however I might in all probability have lost the quantity… I might lose a tattoo.
SID: (Laughs) So Brian says, “You’re the first American to name me.” I tell him I wish to carry The Beatles to America. He says, “You wish to deliver my boys to America Why do you need to take them to America We’re not getting any airplay.”
JOHN: How did you answer him
SID: I get this idea. It wasn’t a stroke of genius. Perhaps God did come down, who knows I believe in God. So I say to him, “The language is identical, Mr. EpSTEEN.” I’m calling him “EpSTEEN” and he is calling me “Mr. BernSTINE”. That is the first call. So he corrects me. He says, “My identify is EpSTINE, Mr.BernSTINE.” So I say, “My title is BernSTEEN, Mr. EpSTINE.” That was the primary name.
JOHN: That is hysterical.
SID: Being the fact that he did not snigger, I believed he had no sense of humor.
JOHN: What did you inform him subsequent
SID: I said, “I’d wish to current them in New York.” I want to offer it to you precisely, as I mentioned it in my book.
JOHN: What’s the title of your e-book
SID: “Not Just the Beatles.”
JOHN: Nice title.
SID: It was a gentle cover book. The front cover was of Abbey Road, which we paid a handsome price for.
JOHN: Why did you convey them here, to New York
SID: I had to think about one thing. I said, “I think they’d make it right here, as a result of nicely, we speak the same language and all of the loopy stuff happening there could happen right here.”
JOHN: So that you made that up on the spot.
SID; Yeah, I ad-libbed that. So he requested, “When do you need to current them ” From my expertise with dance and with Latin live shows, it takes six or stone island gommato coat eight weeks to advertise. So I say, “Six to eight weeks from now.” He stated, “Oh that is too soon.” He was getting spoiled by all the attention he was getting. “I would not need my boys going so quickly.” He never mentioned “The Beatles”, he all the time said, “my boys”. It was February or March of sixty-three, so we settled on a yr ahead. That 12 months ahead turned out to be February twelfth, Lincoln’s birthday, 1964. I picked Lincoln’s birthday as a result of I knew the kids could be out of school.
JOHN: Talk about considering forward. Wow! To me, staying in the moment is thinking too far ahead. That was good.
SID: At the moment I left a $500 deposit for the date. They despatched you downstairs to the box workplace. In the mailroom was the man considered “The Dean of Box Workplace People”, Ned Pasnick. He stated, “I by no means heard about them. Are they good ” I said, “They have been great.” I hadn’t heard them yet. I asked, “What we should cost ” He says, “In the event that they’re nice we are able to charge prime dollar.” High dollar then was $3.50, $four.50 or $5.50. I stated, “Nice.” I actually did not exactly know what I used to be doing. But I knew, after studying about them within the news, I needed to get them. I used to be in love with England. Maybe I dreamed of real green grass.
JOHN: This was means earlier than they have been booked on Ed Sullivan.
SID: A 12 months earlier. I found out later from Ed Sullivan that when he put them on he hadn’t heard them but. Mr. Pasnick asked me what I wanted the tickets to say. I stated, “Sid Bernstein Presents The Beatles”. He prints the tickets. Ten days later they’re prepared. They sat there and collected mud for nearly a 12 months.
JOHN: A yr
SID: A yr. No one cared about them but. Abruptly, in October of ‘sixty three, their records begin to play and play and play.
JOHN: Once you heard them, what was your response
SID: I favored it. I favored their act. I felt like I would completed something. But all I would executed was dial the suitable number. That is all I really did.
JOHN: If you happen to did not have the love of England, you wouldn’t have had the curiosity.
SID: No matter you want to attribute it to. My religious mates say God did it.
JOHN: Department Rickey, the outdated Dodgers’ GM, mentioned, “Luck is the residue of design.” I believe in it just a little in another way. I consider that luck is the residue of grand design. That there is one thing extra powerful serving to us pull the strings.
SID: Might very nicely be. The booker from Carnegie Hall hadn’t heard the Beatles yet, either. However perhaps as a result of I sent her flowers to thank her, I get a name from her saying, “I got a date that’s open, Mr. Bernstein.” The Beatles have been coming on Feb 12th. The Feb 15th date was open. I take it. I come up and provides her a field of candy. A few days later I get another name. There’s one other date that opened up. So it’s inside that same ten-day time space. My first advert reads, “Sid Bernstein Presents The Beatles on Feb. 12, Shirley Bassey on Feb 15.” Three days later it was, “Rely Basie and Tony Bennett.” Bernstein presents the Beatles, Bassey, Basie and Bennett.
JOHN: Wow, nice bookings and also you can’t be rather more poetic than that.
SID: I turned a manager of Count Basie and Tony Bennett for some time. When The Beatles got here I lived at the John Adams, a big constructing on twelfth Road. Kids used to form traces ready to see me. “May they get a front row seat for the Beatles ” I knew nothing in regards to the field workplace. It was all so new. I didn’t even put seats apart for the press. Folks had been promoting their seats–a $150 for balcony to $200 for the middle part.
JOHN: How did booking them in Shea Stadium occur The place did the concept come from
SID: When i got here back the subsequent day. This continues to be earlier than the present or Sullivan. Ned, “The Dean of the Field Workplace,” said, “I would by no means seen something like that. Children slept in a single day to get tickets.” That is winter now. People came with mattresses and blankets for his or her youngsters. They all needed to be first on line. I began that occurring. There were still tickets for Bassy and Bennett and Basie. The Beatles have been sold out instantly. I advised Brian we might have offered out fifty days. We may have made thousands. We could have made fifty instances the money. Carnegie Corridor still has the identical 2,030 seats. Brian and that i hadn’t met yet. We finally meet for the first time previous to the Sullivan present and prior to my thing (Carnegie Corridor). He liked the way in which I handled it. We agreed before he left New York, that we would e book them in Madison Sq. Backyard. Madison Sq. Garden was the outdated Aladdin. It had 17,000 seats. However I modified my thoughts. I known as Brian and advised him, “There are loads of kids calling me. Their fathers are calling me. Their mothers are calling me. The Garden did not fulfill our needs. I would like to alter it from Madison Square Backyard to Shea Stadium.” He requested, “What number of seats is that, sir I said, “Fifty-5 thousand.” “Do you suppose you may fill it ” I mentioned, “Mind, I am going to provide you with ten dollars for each seat that’s empty.” He mentioned, “Do you mean that, every empty seat ” I mentioned, “No, not each seat that was empty, each seat that isn’t offered!”
JOHN: I suppose you did not must pay him anything.
SID: The first time, Brian stayed on the Plaza. The boys stayed in the suite next to him. I noticed the boys trying out the window. They couldn’t believe what was taking place on the market. This is larger than what occurred in England. Children in every single place on 59th Street, across the Plaza. The Beatles are looking out waving at the kids. It was quite a scene.
JOHN: Did you ever imagine being the guy behind such an occasion
SID: I occurred to guess proper at the best moment–period.
JOHN: But then you definately introduced the Stones here. How did you find out about them
SID: I’m studying the newspapers and i see that the following group arising is the Stones–proper on the heels of the Beatles. I called their first manager and he mentioned, “I was hoping you’d call me.”
JOHN: It is sensible that they would have heard of you by then.
SID: So I make a deal also for Carnegie Hall. The box office lady let me in. It will need to have been all these flowers and stuff I despatched her. The Beatles have been no bother… a number of ladies. The Stones have been black-jacketed guys, a tough crowd. A whole different scene between the Stones’ black leather jackets and the Beatles’ pretty-dressed women with the ribbons of their hair, teenagers standing on the seats screaming, nothing damaged. With the Stones, the images on the walls had been shaking. She says to me, “Do not ever, ever, ever come again in again.” So I brought the subsequent one in…the Dave Clark Five.
JOHN: I didn’t notice that. Who else
SID: I introduced in the following twelve guys. The Dave Clark 5, the Kinks, Manfred Man… something like that. It was the British Invasion. They took over from Sinatra, Perry Como, everyone. The airwaves had been full of the Beatles. It modified every little thing. The Beatles have been in all places.
JOHN: You not solely introduced us the Stones however one of the crucial underrated British bands, the Kinks.
SID: I was not a jerk.
JOHN: You picked some winners. What was it like working with the Stones
SID: I appreciated them, but the Beatles had melody. I used to be not a fan of the Stones’ music. I made some huge cash with them. I introduced them over five occasions.
JOHN: I heard they were wilder, too.
SID: Oh… Yeah…That is for one more time.
JOHN: How did George Martin come into the image
SID: George Martin was doing comedy records.
JOHN: Comedy information
SID: Yeah, that is how he started. Peter Sellers…British comedians. Brian introduced him because he worked for the document company. He stated he heard one thing. He took the shot. Brian later instructed me eight individuals passed on the Beatles. He (George Martin) didn’t. He’s very special, you see him, there’s an aura about him. He was the fifth Beatle, not Murray The Okay. Brian was the sixth and I used to be the twenty-fourth.
JOHN: I believe you’re the Number one American Beatle. Whereas all this was taking place with the Beatles, what was your favorite expertise
SID: I like folks. It gave me contact with people, younger and previous. And the fitting and privilege to satisfy new people everyday. That is my manner of life. That’s why I had a variety of children of my own.
JOHN: You’ve gotten six children.
SID: My spouse cheated me–I wanted eight. I made some cash. I obtained a bigger condo with every child on the John Adams till we outgrew that.
JOHN: You additionally brought the American group, the Rascals, to Shea Stadium.
SID: No. I received them into Madison Sq. Backyard. They were the second big pop act to play there. Up till then, the Backyard did not take that form of act. Pop acts. I introduced James Brown in first. When i booked him, I got him off the so-referred to as, chitlin’ circuit. My spouse and i and perhaps two different white couples had been there to see a black act. There were no incidents. You should see what James Brown stated about me.
JOHN: What did he say
SID: James Brown likens me to a white Martin Luther King of the music business. Said I broke the colour barrier on the Garden and uh… I neglect the place else.
JOHN: You don’t see color.
SID: I grew up in Harlem.
JOHN: You see artists.
SID: Sure. I regarded for expertise first…all the time talent. The one thing I don’t speak about a lot, and do not ask me, is the Bay City Rollers. I introduced them right here. Folks thought I used to be bringing over another Beatles. I never stated the Beatles. I just talked about Shea Stadium and so they thought they had been the Beatles. It’s best to see the money I obtained. I became their New York supervisor.
JOHN: A number of years ago when the Beatles album got here out with all of the primary hits, it bought off the charts and far of the gross sales had been from college kids. Why do you suppose
SID: The music continues to be relevant they usually received an awesome head begin. Look who they are. It is like saying, “The Yankees.” Not way back I received a call to speak in a school in Nashville — The Nashville College of Leisure and Music. Half the school turned out to listen to me. It wasn’t me–it was the Beatles. 9 out of ten questions were in regards to the Beatles. Because of that talk, the dean calls his pal in Cleveland who’s from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and i obtained to talk at the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Good end up.
JOHN: I believe the Beatles had been the band that broke down all of the world limitations. In a means, they introduced the world collectively.
SID: They brought folks together–everyone singing, strangers standing around holding one another singing. It is superb what the Beatles have completed.
JOHN: Especially as I get older, their music becomes more relevant. I like John’s track, “In My Life.”
SID: My favourite song in the entire world is “Think about” by my favorite songwriter, John Lennon. My different favourite is Jacques Brel. The present is unbelievable and the music is so great.
JOHN: Is there any music today that you want or knocks you out
SID: No. doesn’t knock me out. But then once more, I don’t pay attention much. I do not know how to place a cassette on, or learn how to play a document, or a CD. I get my sons and daughters to come back over. I haven’t got a automobile. I don’t know so much that’s happening.
JOHN: You continue to exit and see music
SID: Yeah, however I don’t go out as a lot. Since I hurt my leg, my children put me beneath home arrest. When you go see anyone fascinating, give me a name. I’ll go.
JOHN: Is there any expertise that ought to have made it or it’s best to have dealt with
SID: I made my errors. I passed up on Barbara Streisand. I passed up on Neil Diamond. Streisand, what I hear about her, would have shortened my life. I am simply kidding. She’s a dear friend.
JOHN: Did you cling out socially with the musicians and celebrities
SID: My children, no celebrities. For some time I was close and pleasant with Tony Bennett. He was my favorite singer.
JOHN: I heard that John Lennon used to name you about Italian eating places.
SID: Nicely, I took him to Paolucci’s on Mulberry Street. John gave them the largest tip they ever had. He got here there with six or seven different rock stars, Harry Nilsson, and some others. I was informed they had been the most properly-behaved, polite clients.
JOHN: What do you think drew everybody to Lennon
SID: How do you describe charisma He’s a kind of figures that comes along as soon as in a technology. The individuals would end up for Paul, end up for George, however mobs would prove for Lennon.
JOHN: What’s next
SID: Paul referred to as me. We talked about getting together. I want to do Paul again, for a trigger. My massive thing is for most cancers analysis and to finish world starvation.
JOHN: Everyone that I have spoken to about you has nothing however sort issues to say.
SID: Properly, I defy whoever it was. I believe it was Lincoln who mentioned, “You can idiot among the individuals among the time, however you can’t fool all of the people all the time.” Nicely, I’ve fooled all of the individuals the entire time.
JOHN: I don’t assume so.
SID: I bought to inform you this, though…it has been an attention-grabbing life. No regrets. I made my mistakes but I take pleasure in my life increasingly.