Fritz Rau Dies

Legendary German promoter Fritz Rau died at his home in Kronberg, aged 83.

He leaves two children. A pioneer of the German and international live music industry, Rau in retirement was inevitably met with standing ovations at any trade gathering he attended.

Speaking at the International Live Music Conference in 2001, the main room stood as one and sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

A couple of months later at Germany’s Echo Music Awards, where he collected the prize for “lifetime achievement,” his emotive and political speech emphasizing the cultural role of concert promoters brought another room to its feet.

A year later, Rau received his country’s order of merit, the German Federal Government’s highest decoration.

In 2007 there was another standing ovation as Rau picked up another “lifetime achievement” gong at the German Live Entertainment Awards.

LEA organizer and German promoters association (BDV) chief Jens Michow paid tribute to Rau as “a man whom above all had a love of music and a respect for the value of the artist.”

Born in Baden Würtemberg in 1930, Rau’s ambitions to be a lawyer were undermined by his love of jazz. After beginning as a jazz promoter, he eventually branched out to promote shows from superstars including the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, The Yardbirds, Cream, Freddie Mercury, David BowieTina TurnerJoan Baez, and Charles Aznavour.

In 1989, he merged his concert agency Lippmann & Rau with Mama Concerts, which was headed by Marcel Avram.

The new company became Mama Concerts & Rau.

“It’s a big loss for the music industry,” Avram said of Rau’s passing. “I will never forget him. He was a loyal partner for over 12 years at Mama Concerts & Rau and we became very good friends.

“We learned from each other quite a lot and without Fritz Rau the music industry has lost one of its first pioneers.

“I remember very well one of his slogans: Small posters, small artists. Big posters, big artists.

“Dear Fritz, for us the biggest poster is still too small for you,” he said.

Since 2001, Rau has worked as independent producer and tour promoter, although much of his time has been spent lecturing on the blues and autobiographical public speaking.