Bill Graham Honored With Special Merit Award

Bill Graham
Waring Abbott / Getty Images
– Bill Graham

Bill Graham was honored with the Trustee Award as part of the Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards during the Grammy Awards ceremony at Madison Square Garden Jan. 28.

To say that Graham is regarded as a legend in the industry is an understatement. The late manager/promoter, who died in 1991, is credited with ushering the modern rock concert thanks to his work promoting shows for some of the biggest rock acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

He is perhaps best known for his work promoting shows at the Fillmore in San Francisco, where he staged gigs for acts like The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. He was also the first to book black artists such as Otis Redding, Chuck Berry and B.B. King for white audiences.

During the ‘70s Graham staged tours for The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Cosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He went on to produce the American Live Aid at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Graham’s Promotion company, Bill Graham Presents, was sold to SFX Promotions after his death. Several BGP employees left the company after it was acquired to form Another Planet. SFX was later purchased by Clear Channel Entertainment, which went on to become Live Nation

Seymore Stein and John Williams also received the Trustee award. Other honorees included Hal Blaine, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, The Meters, Queen and Tina Turner for the lifetime achievement award, in addition to Richard Factor and Tony Agnello for the technical Grammy award.

A special awards presentation ceremony and concert celebrating the Merit Award honorees will take place summer 2018.