First appeared on Blogcritics
When I heard the story that legendary music promoter Sid Bernstein had passed away at 95, I kept thinking how this man helped change the culture of the United States. It is no stretch to say this because until Bernstein actually started promoting Beatles, people on this side of the pond thought Beatles were just bugs.
All that changed when Bernstein began his work for the Beatles, and what would follow is the now famous series of appearances in February 1964 that changed the course of history. Note it was not just music history that changed but American history itself – as the British Invasion that was coming would be more impactful and lasting than anything King George and his minions could have imagined before they were kicked across the pond for good by Washington and company.
I always think of Bernstein and Beatles manager Brian Epstein as the kind of guys who dared to think differently. Epstein took the first chance to think beyond the walls of his Liverpool music store and dream of how big this band could be. Epstein became their manager, got them known outside of Liverpool, and propelled them to fame in the U.K. It was Bernstein who then took up Epstein’s vision and saw what the Beatles could be in America, and before long Beatles would conquer not just the United States but the world.
Besides the legendary appearances and the fame that came with them, the Beatles’ legacy was inextricably linked with the city where it all started in America, and lifetime New Yorker Bernstein made that happen. As angels take him off to rest, I suppose John Lennon and George Harrison will be there to welcome him, and no doubt he and Brain Epstein will come together and recall that they were responsible for making it possible that four lads from Liverpool would shake the world.
Rest in peace, Sid Bernstein.
Photo credits: Bernstein-wireimage; Beatles-AP; poster-maccafan.net