Legacy of Legendary Music Promoter Bill Graham Showcased in New Illinois Holocaust Museum Exhibition

Bill Graham, 1971. “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution” features a wealth of performance images, videos, costumes, and artifacts. Credit: John Olson, the LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.

There is no doubt that Bill Graham changed the way popular music was presented, and in doing so he gave true artists a stage that they might not otherwise have had. — Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will bring a pivotal era of rock music history to life with its new exhibition, “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution,” opening July 16, 2017. This exhibition explores the extraordinary life of renowned music promoter Bill Graham (1931-1991) who helped launch and promote the careers of countless artists including the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones. It also traces the indomitable spirit of a man brought to the U.S. as an eleven-year-old Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazis, fueling a lifelong passion and advocacy for social justice.

Graham’s celebrated Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco was the epicenter of rock’s evolution in the 1960s. Graham went on to promote social change as a driving force behind milestone benefit concerts such as Live Aid (1985) and Human Rights Now! (1988). “Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution” transports visitors to that era with an abundance of memorabilia, archival concert footage, historical and new video interviews, and psychedelic art, demonstrating the lasting influence of Graham’s vision on the immersive, multidimensional, and highly lucrative phenomenon of rock theater that persists today.

The exhibition was organized by Skirball Cultural Center in…

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