- Let Me On by Jessie Evans
- No Tomorrow by Jessica Will
- Untouchable by Stimulator
- West Wham by KB
- What Do by Go Indi (Indigo)
- Dog Star (Fly On) by Blackbyrd McKnight w/ G. Clinton and P-Funk
- Got me Like by Marquis Canaan Da Lion
- Bookenka (The Adventurer) by Ancient Future
- Life String by Scouts Honor
- Class Magic by Jessie Evans
- Flower Lei by Scott Katsura
- I Feel Love by ElectroSexual & Sunday Luv
- Kool by Mo'Fone
- In My Blood by Star & Dagger
- Culbutos by Djizoes
- Mosquito's Buzz by KB
- Run 2 U by Shawn Michael Perry
- Piano Sonata #3 by P. D. Witter w/Fred Horowitz, piano
- I'm Good To Me by Go Indi (Indigo)
- Come Home by Marquis Canaan Da Lion
- Breathing (Instrumental Ver) by KB
- Bring The World by Jessica Will
- Love Conquers All by Scott Katsura
- Speakeasy by Brent Goodbar
- Blood & Silver by Jessie Evans
- Kick It With Me Now by Blackwash
- Honest Opinion by UAF - Feat. Eric McFadden
- Crosswind by Mo'Fone
Calling Sid Bernstein: Talking with the man who brought the Beatles to the US
I was giddy. In over 15 years as an entertainment journalist there have been a few surreal moments, but I have never really ever been star struck. Not until now, that is. I was about to have a conversation with none other than Sid Bernstein, the man who single handedly kick started the British Invasion by bringing four unknown kids from Liverpool named John, Paul, George and Ringo to the US for the first time. Bernstein would go on to be the chief promoter for other British acts like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Moody Blues and many, many more. I was psyched. At 92, this man has done more to influence music over the last century than most of today’s industry people can ever hope for.
I was on hold waiting to be connected when I realized the pipe music being played on the phone was the Supertramp classic “Logical Song”. I took this as a sign. No, Bernstein didn’t do much if anything at all with Supertramp, but the fingerprints of the Beatles are all over that song from the non-traditional arrangements to the high flying vocals and the introspective lyrics. Doubtless, had Bernstein not had the acumen to book the Beatles at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium, their growing popularity would have eventually still spilled across The Pond. The seminal band was already garnering a growing following in Western Europe and interest was clearly already growing in the US or Bernstein’s efforts wouldn’t have been so wildly successful.
Timing is everything, especially in the music industry and Bernstein’s was flawless. He saw the dam backing up and let loose the flood gates before it burst. As a result of his actions with The Beatles and other bands the industry was forced to re-examine itself and change. So, we got bands like Supertramp, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground among a plethora of others whose popularity might have gone on unnoticed in the US for much, much longer. On top of that, with acts like James Brown, Bernstein was putting together black acts with white acts before it was even allowed. Needless to say, when Sid Bernstein came on the line I was for the first time in a long time at a loss for words.
FDK: I’m a little overcome. I talk to a lot of people in my job but it isn’t often I get to talk to living history.
Sid Bernstein: When you say overcome, do you have your doctor with you? I don’t wanna have your lawyer sue me.
FDK: I heard about your recent honor at Rockography in New York. I’ve heard a lot about the place. What did you think?
SB: That place is set up so beautifully. The respect they have for those four unknowns from Liverpool, they make them look so important. And their cuisine is very interesting. It’s amazing because the servers are amazing people. I’ll have to explain that to you later. They have beauty queens as service people. You will be very impressed when you go there.
FDK: You were honored for a lifetime of achievement in your field. What do you think was the key element that made you as successful as you have become?
SB: I just wanted to do something differently and somehow it worked out. Carnage Hall was definitely different. I wanted to get even with the world for ignoring me. I’ll tell ya. I believe in the man upstairs and I feel he pushed me. It wasn’t a stroke of genius. I wasn’t whatever people think I made it. It gets really overblown by a lot of people. I believe that the man upstairs said “Do it. Do it. Do it.” So I called and that’s how this all started. I wanted to get even with the people who had turned me down in the music business. They said “Don’t come back again,” in a monotone so that inspired me to do things a little different. First, it was Glee Club then there was a man that my father sent me to for mandolin lessons. It was a class lesson and there were about five or six of us in the class. We got a quarter of the way through the session and Mr. Popodopalus or whatever his name was asked me not to come back to class. I told my dad I wasn’t allowed to go back and he went to see the teacher. The teacher told him “Your son is the only one who doesn’t belong here.
FDK: What was it about The Beatles that made you want to work with them initially?
SB: I think those early experiences made me do things a little bit different and so I booked these kids that I hadn’t even heard their music yet. I spent a lot of time in England before, during and after WWII and I fell in love with the English language. I lost most of my Bronx accent. I made a lot of friends there. When I got home safe and sound I still had a real love for England. I would always pick up out-of-town newspapers at Times Square which back then was the only place you could get a paper from London, might have been the Daily Mail. So, I started reading about this group. Over the next couple weeks the stories got a little bit bigger.
FDK: I understand when you first booked them, the deal was just a spoken agreement over the phone without having met at all.
SB: I called Childwall and this person with this great English accent answered the phone and he asked me why I wanted to talk to him about his son and I told him I was interested in his band. He asked why I would be interested in bringing the band to New York and I hadn’t even mentioned Carnegie Hall yet. His first answer was no but I must have been so astute that I got him to give me a break. Nine months later, we talked again and he told me they refused to play to an empty house. I knew that there was something important going on in Liverpool and I told him I wanted to be the first to introduce them to New York. Eight months after that they were here. I was pushed. I just had a feeling about them. I truly don’t know how it happened to me.
FDK: When you finally met and saw The Beatles perform what was your first impression? Did you feel confident in the chance you took booking them?
SB: My first impression when I came to see them at the Plaza Hotel which was the first place they checked into for the Carnegie Hall engagement, I went to Brian Epstein’s place and I met this lovely guy who became a good friend. He told me the boys would like to meet me. They were charming. I first saw them at Carnegie hall and I thought they were absolutely tremendous. Turns out I was right. They were. They will always be in my memory
FDK: Did you have any sense of the lasting significance of those days at the time?
SB: Somehow, it all turned out different than anything I could have imagined in my wildest dreams. That’s just how my life works. One dream follows another and sometimes some of them come true and here I am speaking to you in Nashville.
FDK: Looking at all of the changes in the industry from then until now, how do you feel about the state of the industry today?
SB: My belief is that people have gotten more interested in money than the artistry. It’s contaminated by this incredible desire to make money rather than music. More emphasis should be put on the talent of the person. I think artists are treated horribly and they need to be treated the way we want to be treated.
FDK: Are there any acts that excite you now?
SB: I don’t listen as much as I used to. I still go to some concerts, but my wife and I are in the possession of six incredible children and four grandchildren. My main interest in life is them. We stopped at six children because my wife said so. So my lawyer is gonna sue her lawyer. Now, I forgive her because most of those children have started families of their own. Four little Bernsteins and we are praying for a girl to be the next one. I’m not a macho man. The children are more important to me than anything else out there. In another world I would have 36 of them.
FDK: Can we expect another book from you soon?
SB: My next book will be how I feel about living and dying; dropping flowers not bombs. That’s what the focus will be all about. And I wouldn’t be the promoter I am if I didn’t mention the young lady next to me. She’s incredible because as I am sitting here doing this very important interview with Nashville, and that is very important to me, she is sitting with my wife and if I don’t say the right things about her she will hit me over the head. *laughs*
FDK: What is your favorite Beatles song?
SB: Paul asked me that when I last saw him and he interviewed me. He asked me before the camera started rolling and I almost said “Imagine”. Here I am talking to Paul McCartney and I’m a promoter so I had to bite my tongue before the word “Imagine” came out. So, I came up with a new favorite song right there. “Long and Winding Road”.
FDK: What do you look for most in and act you want to work with?
SB: Character first. The enjoyment of serving them well, working with them well and having the ability to talk to them as long as you have talked to me today so I can leave a magic spell.
FDK: Why do you feel the Beatles have become so iconic over the years? Why did they become so important?
SB: We had just lost a young, handsome, wonderful president and we were all in mourning over the death of Kennedy. Along came the Beatles with great interviews and great shows and I remember the welcome they got. The new faces, people with a message. Just plain good music was that message. It made people happy and if you’ve got it use it. Sing it. Play it. Make those people out there happy. You have a responsibility to do it and do the best you can.
- No music available.