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Interview With Sid Bernstein

Five years in the past I had the privilege to spend four hours interviewing Sid Bernstein.
Sid Bernstein was the man responsible for bringing the Beatles to America, which could possibly be enough for several previous and current lives. Add to that the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Manfred Mann, and the Dave Clark Five — just about your complete British Invasion. He was also the first man to e-book a rock and roll act into Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Backyard where he broke the colour line bringing in James Brown. Oh, and he was additionally the primary to ebook a rock and roll band right into a stadium (The Beatles in Shea Stadium). I believe his biggest accomplishment was that he was as nice a person as he was successful. To rephrase Will Rogers, “I have never met a man that wouldn’t like Sid Bernstein.”

JOHN: As a tailor’s son, how did you become involved in promotions
Stone Island Mens Coats BrownSID: I went to James Monroe Highschool, a giant college within the East Bronx. My first promotion was the primary alumni reunion dance. I acquired all of the names and addresses out of the yearbook. It got here off very effectively. So I bought the yearbook from the yr before that and did that class. And the one the 12 months earlier than that was even bigger. So my first promotion was within the gym at James Monroe. However my subsequent promotion was on the Hunts Point Palace, which was a bigger room, and that i raised the worth a little bit bit. Then I began to guide Latin dances and concerts.

JOHN: Why Latin
SID: Because I lived on Tremont Avenue. It didn’t become 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 cleaning. I mentioned that is pretty good. I am making extra money than my father did. It was a challenge and it was authentic.

JOHN: You had been living by your wits.
SID: Yeah, whatever it was. Yeah, I like that. You may say that. It’s even stronger than that. (laughing)

JOHN: Wits and knowledge.
SID: (joking) In tune with unbelievable instincts.

JOHN: You’re a World Conflict II veteran.
SID: I saw a lot of motion in Europe. I did manage to come back dwelling in one piece although.

JOHN: How does a guy introduced up on American Swing music return from World Warfare II, where he spent a while in England, and two a long time later convey an unknown rock and roll band from Liverpool and ebook them into Carnegie Corridor and then Shea Stadium

SID: I liked England’s gentility and its civility. I’m from the Bronx, with a Bronx accent. I really like the beauty of its language, the ways it’s spoken. I like the green grass of England and the flowers. I like the island. It’s an island. The people have been good. I liked their form of authorities, their two homes. After i got here again residence, I continued to learn English newspapers. I used to go to the out-of-town newspaper stand on 42nd Street. The British newspapers weren’t as prevalent as they at the moment are. I might pick up one or two papers. I examine 4 kids creating havoc within the city of Liverpool. I might never heard of Liverpool before. I knew of London. I heard youngsters were falling for them in other cities. I read the second week, the third week, the fourth week. With every week the tales kept getting bigger. I thought, “This appears like one thing I ought to look into.”

JOHN: The place did you go from there, your subsequent step
SID: One way or the other I discover Brian Epstein’s quantity. I referred to as him up. He hadn’t but moved his operation to England. His mom answered the phone.

JOHN: The Beatles’ manager’s mom answered the telephone
SID: Brian was nonetheless dwelling at house, upstairs. His mom calls him to the phone. I can nonetheless hear the footsteps coming down the stairs like it was yesterday. That is a telephone call I’ll never forget.

JOHN: I would never forget that, however I might in all probability have lost the quantity… I could lose a tattoo.
SID: (Laughs) So Brian says, “You’re the first American to name me.” I inform him I need to deliver The Beatles to America. He says, “You wish to deliver my boys to America Why do you want to take them to America We’re not getting any airplay.”

JOHN: How did you reply him
SID: I get this idea. It wasn’t a stroke of genius. Possibly God did come down, who knows I imagine 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”. This is the primary call. So he corrects me. He says, “My title is EpSTINE, Mr.BernSTINE.” So I say, “My title is BernSTEEN, Mr. EpSTINE.” That was the primary call.

JOHN: That is hysterical.
SID: Being the truth that he did not snort, I believed he had no sense of humor.

JOHN: What did you tell him subsequent
SID: I stated, “I would wish to present them in New York.” I would like to present it to you precisely, as I stated it in my e book.

JOHN: What’s the title of your guide
SID: “Not Just the Beatles.”

JOHN: Nice title.
SID: It was a comfortable cover ebook. The front cowl was of Abbey Highway, which we paid a handsome fee for.

JOHN: Why did you bring them here, to New York
SID: I had to think about something. I mentioned, “I believe they’d make it here, because nicely, we converse the identical language and all of the crazy stuff happening there could occur 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 present them ” From my experience with dance and with Latin concerts, it takes six or eight weeks to advertise. So I say, “Six to eight weeks from now.” He stated, “Oh that is too quickly.” He was getting spoiled by all the attention he was getting. “I would not want my boys going so soon.” He by no means said “The Beatles”, he at all times stated, “my boys”. It was February or March of sixty-three, so we settled on a yr ahead. That yr ahead turned out to be February 12th, Lincoln’s birthday, 1964. I picked Lincoln’s birthday as a result of I knew the children could be out of faculty.

JOHN: Speak about thinking ahead. Wow! To me, staying in the moment is thinking too far forward. That was brilliant.

SID: At the moment I left a $500 deposit for the date. They sent you downstairs to the box workplace. Within the mailroom was the man thought-about “The Dean of Box Workplace People”, Ned Pasnick. He mentioned, “I by no means heard about them. Are they good ” I mentioned, “They were nice.” I hadn’t heard them yet. I asked, “What we should always charge ” He says, “In the event that they’re nice we can charge prime dollar.” Prime greenback then was $three.50, $four.50 or $5.50. I mentioned, “Nice.” I actually didn’t precisely know what I used to be doing. But I knew, after reading about them within the news, I needed to get them. I used to be in love with England. Possibly I dreamed of real inexperienced grass.

JOHN: This was approach earlier than they have been booked on Ed Sullivan.
SID: A 12 months earlier. I discovered later from Ed Sullivan that when he put them on he hadn’t heard them yet. Mr. Pasnick asked me what I wished 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 dust for nearly a yr.

JOHN: A 12 months
SID: A 12 months. No one cared about them but. Abruptly, in October of ’63, their records begin to play and play and play.

JOHN: While you heard them, what was your reaction
SID: I appreciated it. I appreciated their act. I felt like I might achieved one thing. But all I’d finished was dial the correct quantity. That is all I actually did.

JOHN: Should you didn’t have the love of England, you would not have had the curiosity.
SID: No matter you wish to attribute it to. My religious associates say God did it.

JOHN: Branch Rickey, the previous Dodgers’ GM, said, “Luck is the residue of design.” I imagine in it somewhat in a different way. I consider that luck is the residue of grand design. That there’s something extra highly effective helping us pull the strings.

SID: Might very effectively be. The booker from Carnegie Corridor hadn’t heard the Beatles but, either. But perhaps as a result of I despatched her flowers to thank her, I get a name from her saying, “I received 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 give her a field of sweet. A few days later I get one other name. There’s another date that opened up. So it is within that very same ten-day time space. My first ad reads, “Sid Bernstein Presents The Beatles on Feb. 12, Shirley Bassey on Feb 15.” Three days later it was, “Count Basie and Tony Bennett.” Bernstein presents the Beatles, Bassey, Basie and Bennett.

JOHN: Wow, great bookings and also you cannot be rather more poetic than that.
SID: I turned a manager of Rely Basie and Tony Bennett for some time. When The Beatles got here I lived on the John Adams, a big building on 12th Avenue. Youngsters used to type traces waiting to see me. “Might they get a entrance row seat for the Beatles ” I knew nothing concerning the box workplace. It was all so new. I did not even put seats apart for the press. Individuals had been promoting their seats–a $a hundred and fifty for balcony to $200 for the middle part.

JOHN: How did booking them in Shea Stadium happen Where did the concept come from
SID: Once i got here again the next day. This remains to be before the present or Sullivan. Ned, “The Dean of the Field Office,” said, “I’d never seen something like that. Kids slept in a single day to get tickets.” That is winter now. Individuals got here with mattresses and blankets for his or her kids. They all wanted to be first on line. I began that occurring. There were still tickets for Bassy and Bennett and Basie. The Beatles were sold out instantly. I instructed Brian we might have bought out fifty days. We could have made thousands. We might have made fifty occasions the money. Carnegie Corridor still has the identical 2,030 seats. Brian and that i hadn’t met yet. We lastly meet for the first time previous to the Sullivan show and prior to my thing (Carnegie Corridor). He beloved the best way I dealt with it. We agreed before he left New York, that we might e book them in Madison Sq. Backyard. Madison Sq. Garden was the old Aladdin. It had 17,000 seats. But I modified my mind. I referred to as Brian and instructed him, “There are a whole lot of youngsters calling me. Their fathers are calling me. Their mothers are calling me. The Backyard did not fulfill our wants. I want to change it from Madison Sq. Backyard to Shea Stadium.” He asked, “What number of seats is that, sir I stated, “Fifty-5 thousand.” “Do you think you’ll fill it ” I said, “Mind, I’ll provide you with ten dollars for every seat that is empty.” He mentioned, “Do you mean that, every empty seat ” I said, “No, not each seat that was empty, each seat that’s not bought!”

JOHN: I assume you did not have to pay him something.
SID: The primary time, Brian stayed at the Plaza. The boys stayed within the suite next to him. I noticed the boys trying out the window. They could not believe what was taking place out there. This is larger than what happened in England. Children everywhere on 59th Avenue, across the Plaza. The Beatles are trying out waving at the youngsters. It was quite a scene.

JOHN: Did you ever think about being the man behind such an occasion
SID: I happened to guess right at the fitting second–period.

JOHN: But then you introduced the Stones right here. How did you discover out about them
SID: I’m reading the newspapers and that i see that the following group arising is the Stones–proper on the heels of the Beatles. I known as their first manager and he mentioned, “I was hoping you’d name me.”

JOHN: It makes sense that they’d have heard of you by then.
SID: So I make a deal also for Carnegie Hall. The field workplace lady let me in. It must have been all these flowers and stuff I despatched her. The Beatles were no trouble… plenty of ladies. The Stones have been black-jacketed guys, a rough crowd. A complete completely different scene between the Stones’ black leather jackets and the Beatles’ fairly-dressed girls with the ribbons in their hair, teenagers standing on the seats screaming, nothing damaged. With the Stones, the pictures on the walls had been shaking. She says to me, “Do not ever, ever, ever come back in once more.” So I introduced the next one in…the Dave Clark Five.

JOHN: I did not realize that. Who else
SID: I brought in the next 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 filled with the Beatles. It changed all the pieces. The Beatles have been in all places.

JOHN: You not only introduced us the Stones but some of the 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 liked them, but the Beatles had melody. I was not a fan of the Stones’ music. I made some huge cash with them. I brought them over 5 times.

JOHN: I heard they were wilder, too.
SID: Oh… Yeah…That’s for an additional time.

JOHN: How did George Martin come into the picture
SID: George Martin was doing comedy information.

JOHN: Comedy records
SID: Yeah, that is how he started. Peter Sellers…British comedians. Brian introduced him as a result of he labored for the document company. He said he heard one thing. He took the shot. Brian later told me eight people handed on the Beatles. He (George Martin) did not. He is very particular, you see him, there’s an aura about him. He was the fifth Beatle, not Murray The K. Brian was the sixth and I used to be the twenty-fourth.

JOHN: I feel you’re the Primary American Beatle. While all this was taking place with the Beatles, what was your favourite expertise

SID: I really like people. It gave me contact with people, young and previous. And the precise and privilege to fulfill new folks on a regular basis. That’s my means of life. That is why I had numerous youngsters of my very own.

JOHN: You have six kids.
SID: My spouse cheated me–I needed eight. I made some cash. I got a larger house with each kid at the John Adams till we outgrew that.

JOHN: You additionally introduced the American group, the Rascals, to Shea Stadium.
SID: No. I obtained them into Madison Sq. Backyard. They have been the second large pop act to play there. Up until then, the Backyard didn’t take that kind of act. Pop acts. I introduced James Brown in first. When i booked him, I got him off the so-known as, chitlin’ circuit. My spouse and i and maybe two other white couples were there to see a black act. There were no incidents. It’s best to 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 enterprise. Said I broke the colour barrier on the Garden and uh… I forget where else.

JOHN: You don’t see coloration.
SID: I grew up in Harlem.

JOHN: You see artists.
SID: Sure. I regarded for stone island hooded military green jacket expertise first…all the time talent. The one factor I don’t discuss a lot, and don’t ask me, is the Bay Metropolis Rollers. I brought them right here. Individuals stone island hooded military green jacket thought I was bringing over another Beatles. I by no means mentioned the Beatles. I simply talked about Shea Stadium and so they thought they were the Beatles. It’s best to see the cash I got. I became their New York supervisor.

JOHN: Just a few years in the past when the Beatles album came out with all of the number one hits, it bought off the charts and much of the gross sales were from school children. Why do you suppose

SID: The music continues to be related they usually received an important head begin. Look who they are. It is like saying, “The Yankees.” Not long ago I received a name to speak in a school in Nashville — The Nashville University of Entertainment and Music. Half the varsity turned out to hear me. It wasn’t me–it was the Beatles. 9 out of ten questions have been about the Beatles. On account of that discuss, the dean calls his pal in Cleveland who’s from the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame and i received to speak at the Rock and Roll Corridor of fame. Nice turn out.

JOHN: I believe the Beatles have been the band that broke down all the world barriers. In a method, they brought the world together.

SID: They brought folks together–everybody singing, strangers standing round holding one another singing. It is wonderful what the Beatles have achieved.

JOHN: Particularly as I get older, their music becomes extra related. I love John’s music, “In My Life.”

SID: My favourite tune in the entire world is “Think about” by my favorite songwriter, John Lennon. My different favorite is Jacques Brel. The present is unbelievable and the music is so nice.

JOHN: Is there any music at present that you like or knocks you out
SID: No. does not knock me out. However then once more, I do not listen much. I do not know how to put a cassette on, or tips on how to play a document, or a CD. I get my sons and daughters to return over. I haven’t got a automobile. I don’t know so much that’s going on.

JOHN: You continue to go out and see music
SID: Yeah, however I do not exit as a lot. Since I hurt my leg, my youngsters put me underneath house arrest. In case you go see anyone interesting, give me a call. I’ll go.

JOHN: Is there any expertise that ought to have made it or you need to have handled
SID: I made my errors. I handed up on Barbara Streisand. I passed up on Neil Diamond. Streisand, what I hear about her, would have shortened my life. I am just kidding. She’s a dear buddy.

JOHN: Did you grasp out socially with the musicians and celebrities
SID: My youngsters, no celebrities. For some time I was shut 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 most important tip they ever had. He got here there with six or seven other rock stars, Harry Nilsson, and some others. I was told they had been essentially the most effectively-behaved, polite prospects.

JOHN: What do you assume drew everybody to Lennon
SID: How do you describe charisma He’s a type of figures that comes along once in a era. The individuals would turn out for Paul, prove for George, however mobs would prove for Lennon.

JOHN: What’s next
SID: Paul known as me. We talked about getting together. I wish to do Paul again, for a cause. My massive factor is for most cancers analysis and to finish world starvation.

JOHN: Everyone that I have spoken to about you has nothing but form issues to say.
SID: Properly, I defy whoever it was. I believe it was Lincoln who said, “You may idiot among the people a few of the time, but you cannot idiot all of the individuals all of the time.” Properly, I’ve fooled the entire individuals the entire time.

JOHN: I don’t think so.
SID: I acquired to let you know this, though…it has been an fascinating life. No regrets. I made my mistakes but I take pleasure in my life an increasing number of.