Peter Grant, John Bonham and Bill Graham

The whole ’77 Led Zeppelin tour was one that almost destroyed the band. It all came to a head at the Days of the Green Festival in Oakland on July 23 …

Led Zeppelin’s two-night residency at the large outdoor venue was being promoted by concert impresario Bill Graham, who they already had had some rough dealings with them in the past. The trouble began when Peter Grant’s 11-year-old son Warren tried to take down a dressing room sign bearing the band’s name and was assaulted by a member of Graham’s staff, Jim Matzorkis. This was a huge no-no. Peter Grant was a mountain of a man; a former professional wrestler who carried with him an extremely short temper.

Bonham saw the whole thing and went after the worker. Eventually, Grant himself, along with John Bindon, a member of Zeppelin’s crew and a well-known London gangster, cornered Matzorkis in a trailer and savagely beat him down, while Cole guarded the door, refusing to let anyone in. Obviously, Graham was furious about the whole thing, but with another show the next night still on the books, he signed a letter of indemnification, absolving the band from any wrongdoing in order to get them back on the stage. Nevertheless, charges were eventually filed against Grant, Bindon and Bonham who all later pled no contest and paid a small fine to make the whole thing disappear.

Corbin Reiff, Uproxx

The Fillmore East

Bill Graham opened the Fillmore East in March, 1968 at 2nd Avenue and 6th Street in New York City. With spectacular light shows, dancing, and extraordinary performances from rock’s biggest names, it quickly became legendary. Graham’s success with his Fillmore’s East and West contributed to the changing demands of the musicians he featured, opening the door to a commercial atmosphere of bigger salaries and larger venues. Anticipating those changes, Graham closed the Fillmore East with a month-long celebration that culminated in the June 27, 1971 concert…

With Albert King, the J Geils Band, Edgar Winter, Mountain, the Beach Boys, Country Joe McDonald, and the Allman Brothers Band all featured on the bill, it was an appropriately epic and genre-spanning lineup. Admission into the venue was invite-only, but it was broadcast in New York over WNEW-FM and WPLJ-FM.  ~


The Allman Brothers Band ~ At Fillmore East

June 1971 ~ The Allman Brothers Band turn out the lights at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East. The album is recorded over the course of three nights — June 25, 26 & 27.

It’s #49 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. And In 2004, the album was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress, deemed to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” by the National Recording Registry.

“OK … The Allman Brothers Band.”

March 12, 1971 ~ The first of three nights at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East begin with that simple introduction. Two of the shows are recorded and become The Allman Brothers seminal “Live at Fillmore East” album.

The album goes on to sell over a million copies; it is certified Gold on October 25, four days before Duane Allman dies in a motorcycle accident.