He brought the Beatles to Pittsburgh for $5000, and that was only the beginning.
I had the pleasure of reading a book for review this week that I definitely would have read anyway! Hard Days Hard Nights: From the Beatles to the Doors to the Stones… Insider Stories From a Legendary Concert Promoter
Hard Days Hard Nights is the memoir of Pittsburgh concert promoter and legend Pat DiCesare.
We all know how much I love my music, my Twisted Mix Tape series was the longest running music meme in blogging history. (maybe) And since my primary love is 60s and 70s music, well this was a match made in heaven before I even cracked the spine.
Pat wasted no time jumping into the story, he had me at the Beatles, or was it the Doors? Maybe Sly and the Family Stone?
But that’s not where it started, the son of Italian immigrants Pat started with nothing, and became a Pittsburgh legend.
From the beginning it was clear that Pat had the drive to become the best at what ever he would do. Even as a high school student he was driven to move up the ladder, beginning as a busboy at the first music lounge in Pittsburgh he worked his way up, and when he got to the top he knew he wanted more.
Of course it was his life as a concert promoter that makes this book. To Pat, promoting concerts was a business. You may say duh, of course it’s a business. But what I mean is, although he absolutely had an ear for music, and was destined to be in the music biz, what he saw was an opportunity to make a lot of money bringing the “kids” what they wanted.
He recounted a story about Sly and the Family Stone, rumors abounded that Sly wasn’t showing for concerts. Pat’s livelihood was hanging on Sly’s Thanksgiving weekend show. He decided he had not choice but to fly out to see Sly and the Family Stone so he could guarantee they would show up the next day for his Pittsburgh show “If there was anything I hated it was sitting in the audience watching a concert. I never did that at any of my shows. This was business, not pleasure. To me a concert was work, not entertainment.”
Pat walked in the business at the very beginning of the Rock N’ Roll movement, it is fascinating to read about the resistance he received to booking Rock groups. But he had a very keen business sense, he saw the money in Rock N Roll and he knew this was only the beginning.
This is one of those books where you are constantly relaying the stories you have read in the book to anyone who will listen.
Like, “Can you believe he put on major concerts, like The Beatles and The Beach Boys using only the sound systems in the Arena they used for basketball and hockey?”
And, “Dude, Janis Joplin’s only request was a case of Southern Comfort! I mean, we all know how she died, but it is so weird reading about an actual event leading up to her death that basically foretold it!”
I loved reading about how early on, the Arena owner was constantly freaking out about how rowdy the concert goers were. How he almost shut down concert after concert. How Pat didn’t really like even being out with the crowd during the concert and spent his time in the ticket booth. How no one thought he could fill a stadium, and he did!
There are so many stories in this book that will have you turning page after page, I don’t know about you but I love to hear stories about musicians and concerts. I love reading about how the whole thing worked behind the scenes.
Hard Days Hard Nights covers 4 decades of music and musicians, with an inside look that only a concert promoter can give you.
I really recommend this quick read, it will entertain you and give you a wealth of knowledge about the concert industry.
Pat DiCesare was among the top grossing concert productions companies in the nation. He promoted just about every major concert act in the business in the last half of the 20th century including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Janis Joplin, Chicago, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel and the list goes on.
Currently, DiCesare is producing “Relive The Beatles ’64.
DiCesare’s best selling book, “Hard Days, Hard Nights”, From The Beatles to The Doors to The Stones Insider Stories from a Legendary Concert Promoter,” has won the 2014 Grand Prize at the Great Midwest Book Festival, the Runner Up in the 2014 So Cal Book Festival and was named the winner of the 2014 Independent book of the year. Promoting You, his newest offering will be released soon.