Bill Graham exhibit opens in Philly

Alex Lloyd Gross photo- Delaware Valley Alex Graham poses for a photo at his fathers exhibit.

By Alex Lloyd Gross

When you talk about Rock and Roll Legends, you think of bands like the Rolling Stones, The Who,   The Beatles ,  for example. However,  most people don’t think about  what it takes to get those bands to your town. One such man, Bill Graham was a visionary.  A true showman. This man promoted bands and is responsible for bands being seen in so many countries all over the world.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo Delaware Valley Kieth Richards boots, Bill Graham’s hat and Rolling Stones tickets

Chances are , if you are over 30 you have attended at least one Bill Graham show in your life.  At the National Museum of American Jewish History there is an entire exhibit dedicated to him. Graham, a refugee from Nazi Germany came to America and moved to California.  It was there he made a name for himself (and countless other bands) .  By 1981 he was the one responsible for bringing the Rolling Stones on tour to North America and Europe..

Inside this exhibit, you will see the boots that Kieth Richards  insisted on wearing before going out on stage during  that tour. You will see tickets from that tour as well. They opened that tour September 25 and 26 in Philadelphia at JFK Stadium.  Bill Graham was also the man behind Live Aid  which was done July 13 1985 in Philadelphia and London.  This exhibit will show some Live Aid  stuff such as  a t shirt and program. This is all courtesy of local music fan David Poley.

During a press  preview, his son Alex was there. When asked if he was constantly asked for free tickets ,  he said “Oh yes, sometimes he would deny that he was Bill Graham, telling  the person  they were confusing him  with someone else”,  You can see some of the letters written to Graham asking for tickets to the Grateful Dead shows. While most of the exhibit is on the 5th floor, you can see some other items like one of his elaborate costumes he would wear to his New Years Eve shows on the ground floor.

A special “Speakers That Rock symposium is going to happen this Sunday at 1;00 PM. It features Larry Magid, Alex Graham and others.  Tickets are available at the door for this.