An amazing Rock and Roll treasure

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I ran into this news story at CBS:
A Memorabilia Collection That Rocks
It sounds more like something from the old West than modern day San Francisco. It was dusty. It was musty. It didn't smell real good.

This is a true story about buried treasure. Deep in the basement of a non-descript warehouse, down a maze of back alleys, Bill Sagan discovered what amounts to a goldmine.

"It was 25 feet high in height, below ground. Part of it was below ground," said Sagan. "And there were, I thought, hundreds of thousands of items that were in there. And truly there were millions of items."

It was a rock-and-roll treasure trove--millions of original photographs, posters, documents and much more of forgotten artifacts from an unforgettable musical era.

"We've been told that there exists no other trove of rock-and-roll history that is anywhere near the size of this anywhere else," said Sagan.

To explain where this lost treasure came from we have to travel back more than 40 years to a time when San Francisco was at the vanguard of the rock-and-roll revolution. And leading the charge was one man, Bill Graham.
Turns out that Bill was quite the pack-rat -- it's not just the photographs and posters, there are also thousands of concert tapes, videos, millions of photographs, etc:
First there are the photographs. "I thought there was maybe a half million to a million slides and negatives," said Sagan. "As it turned out, there's probably is closer to a million and a half to two million slides and negatives."

There are posters by the thousands, the psychedelic artwork that went up weekly in San Francisco in the 60's. "We have more than 500 posters that are so rare that their retail price would be in excess of $15,000," Sagan estimated. "There were drawers full of tickets from decades of concerts."

Graham seems to have kept every contract he ever signed. But he had one more big surprise in store, and only after he bought the collection and started going through boxes did Sagan discover what may be the most valuable asset.

"There are nearly 7,000 tapes of 7,000 different performances,' said Sagan. "And the reason I say nearly is because we haven't counted them all and we haven't looked at them all."

Graham didn't just save memorabilia from the concerts, he saved the concerts themselves--rare, high quality recordings of legendary concerts that haven't been seen or heard, in some cases, for 40 years.

Just to give you an idea of what Sagan discovered: The Who's last performance of their rock opera, "Tommy," before drummer Keith Moon died at age 26, and the last concert ever from the British punk-rock pioneers The Sex Pistols.

Bill Graham's cameras had captured most of all the big names through three decades of rock. The Allman Brothers, Chicago, Lenard Skynard, Peter Frampton, Bob Marley.
Sagan (the guy who bought the collection) is keeping the really rare stuff together as a collection and is just selling off lesser items and duplicates to fund the collection. The website for this is here: Wolfgang's Vault (Bill Graham's given name was Wolfgang Grajonca) They also have a streaming radio of various concert performances. Paul Allen must be fuming. [grin]

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on February 20, 2006 4:50 PM.

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