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Bob Dylan & Albert Grossman, London 1966 | by brizzle born and bred
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Bob Dylan & Albert Grossman, London 1966

Albert Bernard Grossman (May 21, 1926 - January 25, 1986) was an American entrepreneur and manager in the American folk music scene and rock and roll. He was most famous as the manager of Bob Dylan between 1962 and 1970.

 

When Grossman signed Janis Joplin and her four bandmates from Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1967, he told them he would not tolerate any intravenous drug use, and all five agreed to abide by the rule. When he discovered, in the spring of 1969, that Joplin was injecting drugs anyway, he didn't confront her. Instead, in June 1969 he took out a life insurance policy guaranteeing him $200,000 in the event she died in an accident.[6] His yearly premium was $3,500.[6]

 

In 1969, Grossman built the Bearsville Recording Studio near Woodstock, and in 1970 he founded Bearsville Records. When Bob Dylan was about to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1969, English critic Michael Gray asked Grossman about the rumor that The Beatles might appear on-stage with Dylan. Grossman replied, sotto voce: “Of course the Beatles would like to join Bob Dylan on stage. I should like to fly to the moon.” The contracts between Dylan and Grossman were officially dissolved on July 17, 1970.

 

On October 4, 1970, Grossman's most famous remaining client, Janis Joplin, died suddenly from a heroin overdose. Grossman refused to say a word about her death to any journalists or colleagues in the music business, leaving his employee Myra Friedman to handle the phone calls that flooded their office.

 

In the documentary film chronicling Dylan’s 1965 tour of the United Kingdom, Dont Look Back, Grossman can be seen constantly protecting his client, sometimes aggressively confronting people he thinks are disrespectful to Dylan.

 

In one memorable scene, he works with musical entrepreneur Tito Burns to extract a good price for Dylan’s appearance on BBC One television.

 

The director of Dont Look Back, D. A. Pennebaker, said of Grossman's management tactics, "I think Albert was one of the few people that saw Dylan's worth very early on, and played it absolutely without equivocation or any kind of compromise."

 

@Barry Feinstein Collection

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Taken on September 18, 2011