Bill Graham was an American impresario and rock concert promoter from the 1960s until his death in 1991 in a helicopter crash. He fled from Germany and, in 1941, from France to escape the Holocaust. At age ten he settled in a foster home in the Bronx, New York. Graham graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and from City College with a business degree.
In the early 1960s, he moved to San Francisco, and, in 1965, began to manage a theater troupe. He organized a benefit concert, then promoted several free concerts. This eventually turned into a profitable full-time career and he assembled a talented staff. Graham had a profound influence around the world, sponsoring the musical renaissance of the '60s from the epicenter, San Francisco. Graham made famous the Fillmore and Winterland Arena; these turned out to be a proving grounds for rock bands and acts of the San Francisco Bay Area such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother & the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, and many others.