Jerry Brandt, Who Revolutionized NYC’s Rock Scene, Dead At 82
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Jerry Brandt, who converted a dormant warehouse called Webstar Hall into The Ritz in New York City and revolutionized rock concerts there, died Jan. 16 at age 82 in Florida.
He got his start in the music business as a messenger at William Morris Agency and and advanced to become the director of its pop music division.
During his tenure, he was credited with discovering Chubby Checker and booking artists including The Beach Boys and Sonny & Cher, and bringing The Rolling Stones to the U.S.
He also worked as an artist manager, representing Carly Simon in her early career and opening other rock clubs such as THe Electric Circus before moving to Los Angeles, where he opened the Paradise Ballroom.
But he is probably best remembered for The Ritz, New York’s first large rock club.
U2 performed its first American concert there, and Tina Turner reportedly launched her comeback from its stage. British artists making their stateside debuts from The Ritz include Depeche Mode and the solo Sting. Ozzy Osbourne recorded the live album Speak of the Devil at The Ritz in 1992,
With the move of The Ritz to the site of Studio 54 in 1992, the former warehouse reverted to its original name of Webster Hall, and remains an important venue in the Big Apple.