Summary Bill Graham was born on January 8, 1931 and died on October 25, 1991. He was a well-known concert promoter, specializing in rock 'n' roll.
Biography Bill Graham was born as Wolfgang Grajonca. He was placed in an orphanage in Berlin by his widowed mother at an early age, due to his Jewish background and the rise of Nazi action in Germany at the time. His entire family was affected by the War. He and his sister were traded for Christian orphans from France and his sister died en route. His grandmother died at a famous extermination camp named Auschwitz.
Graham escaped Europe and made his way to New York City to live in a foster home. Graham's name-change happened at this point in his life due to teasing from others about his ancestry. Eventually, Graham graduated high school and later attended business school. He was drafted into the Army in 1951 and, upon exiting, made a living as a server.
In the early 1960s, he moved from New York City to San Francisco. Here, he attended a free concert in Golden Gate Park and became the manager of a troupe he met there. This was his "in" to becoming a promoter, and he went on to produce concerts as a living.
Achievements Operated the Fillmore; masterminded the creation of the Shoreline Amphitheatre; promoted the famous Live Aid concerts; helped establish Ticketmaster, credited with helping jump-start the careers of Eddie Money, Santana, and Paul Collins; promoted for Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, and The Rolling Stones; the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium is named after him