Bill Graham: Wolfgang Grajonca, A Pioneer in Hosting Rock Music Events

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The rock community owes a great deal to Bill Graham for his contributions to the development of rock music. His ingenuity when it came to producing and promoting rock concerts helped to expose artists to new audiences and launch several of the artists’ careers. The concerts he produced provided the audience with a better concert experience as well as helping to improve the showmanship of the artists that performed. Graham’s concert producing allowed rock music to become the means of communication that many people could understand. Bill Graham’s original name was Wolfgang Grajonca and he was born on January 8th, 1931 in Berlin (“Who was…”). Graham was born to a Russian Jewish family who had moved to Germany in search of work and a better life. His father died two days after his birth due to an infection caused by an industrial accident leaving his mother to provide for him and his five older sisters. After November 8th, 1938 “The Night of Breaking Glass”, Graham’s mother placed him and his sister Tolla into a children’s home where they were then transferred to a chateau in France. After Paris fell in 1941, a worker from the International Red Cross led Graham and his sister along with sixty-two other children out of the country. The journey fleeing German troops left Graham’s sister Tolla weakened from malnutrition and pneumonia. His sister had to be left at a hospital in Lyon until she was well enough to join them. That was the last time Graham saw his sister. After Lyon, Graham and the other children travelled by foot to Marseilles and after several months in Madrid, they went to Lisbon. From Lisbon, they were placed on an ocean liner that took nineteen days to cross the Atlantic since it had to evade German U-boats. Graham arrive... ... middle of paper ... ...g in a helicopter accident in 1991 (“Who was…”). Graham’s contribution to the development of rock music was unprecedented. His time and commitment to producing concerts provided rock concerts with a high degree of showmanship that enhanced the concert experience and made the musicians better performers. Many artists owe the start of their careers and showmanship to the work Graham put into publicizing and organizing concerts on their behalf.. By headlining popular artists, Graham was able to expose black artists to new audiences, which provided these artists with better exposure that they most likely could not have obtained without Graham’s help. Graham’s impressive ability to put together large scale rock concerts redefined the concert experience and demonstrated that rock music could be used to communicate a social issue to a large audience to gain their support.
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