I’m looking forward to a new biography due to release on November 15, 2016. ‘Bear: The Life and Times Of Augustus Owsley Stanley III’ written by Robert Greenfield, a music author/journalist I deeply respect.
First-hand reflections from Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia are included in the book which comes from the author of Dark Star: An Oral History Of Jerry Garcia. Greenfield also penned Exile on Main St.: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones and collaborated with impresario Bill Graham on Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock and Out.
Augustus Owsley Stanley III, better known by his nickname, Bear, was one of the most iconic figures in the cultural revolution that changed both America and the world during the 1960s.
Owsley’s high-octane rocket fuel enabled Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters to put on the Acid Tests. It also powered much of what happened on stage at Monterey Pop. Owsley turned on Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. The shipment of LSD that Owsley sent John Lennon resulted in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album and film.
Convinced that the Grateful Dead were destined to become the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, Owsley provided the money that kept them going during their early days. As their longtime soundman, he then faithfully recorded many of the Dead’s greatest live performances and designed the massive space age system that came to be known as the Wall of Sound.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East on June 28, 1971. No rock hall echoes stronger in the music of our heart than Bill Graham’s legendary venue in the East Village section of NYC.
There were 40 albums recorded live at The Fillmore East from 1968 through 1971. Considering there were 111 main concerts during that time frame (more if you count both early and late show events) 40 concerts was close to 1/3 of all shows that were performed there. You can see the complete list of live Fillmore East albums, sorted A-Z by recording title on this Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Live_at_the_Fillmore_East_albums
Many people associateThe Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East as “the” recording that captured the music live of the last night. Truth of the matter is that only when the deluxe edition of this dual CD was released did we get to hear two tracks from June 28th, “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider”. According to Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J Geils Band who performed that night, “the Allman Brothers started at around four in the morning. At dawn, they were still playing “Crossroads,” or something like that.” (Graham and Greenfield, 2004).
The late, great photographer Jim Marshall took the photographs for the cover of The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in the alley next to Capricorn Recording Studios in Macon, Georgia. (not in the alley of The Fillmore East as many, including myself, always thought). This is my favorite pose by the band that Jim Marshall’s unique lens captured.
There are several definitive sources of information available about The Fillmore East. I refer you to my reference section at the end of this blog post.
As we get closer to celebrating the real 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East I will update this blog post with any potential celebrations and events. Trust me I plan to take part as fully as I can in those events.