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BRIAN MURPHY,
1947-2018

AEG Presents West Coast President Brian Murphy, a premier concert promoter in Los Angeles from the late 1970s into the  21st century, died Tuesday after battling a respiratory disease. He was 70.

AEG Presents North America President Rick Mueller confirmed his death in an email. "The guy was a freaking legend in the business and industry where we don’t do a great job celebrating the greats," Mueller wrote. "He opened so many doors and guided me through them in my career. You don’t see that type of mentorship too often. I miss him."

Seattle native Murphy, who moved to L.A. after college, co-founded Avalon Attractions in 1977 with Robert Bogdanovich and Gary Perkins, two of his colleagues at Pacific Presentations. Murphy worked for Pacific as production manager for about seven years during which time they staged 1974’s California Jam, a record-setter for paid attendance at the time.

Avalon launched in 1977 with a Queen concert at The Forum, which was followed by shows with Santana, Jethro Tull, Supertramp and others. They also helped package Rod Stewart’s 1977 tour.

Avalon quickly became one of the largest in the U.S. as Avalon was the key promoter at The Forum, Wiltern Theatre, Hollywood Palladium and Irvine Meadows. Years later, it was Murphy, whose partners departed the company after a few years, who oversaw the rehabilitation of the Wiltern during which the orchestra seats were removed, and the Palladium, which reopened in 2008 with a Jay-Z concert.

Murphy gave Metallica, Depeche Mode and Madonna their starts under the Avalon banner and promoted their first stadium shows as well. He also promoted Bruce Springsteen’s seven-night run at the Sports Arena in 1984 and legendary four-night run at the Coliseum in 1985 plus the Rolling Stones/Guns N' Roses shows there in 1989. He also booked multiple shows at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

He sold Avalon to SFX Attractions in 1998 when Robert Sillerman was buying up local promoters to create a national concert promotions company. SFX was then sold to Clear Channel and Murphy stayed on as the head of the company’s Southern California operation.

Clear Channel’s concert division was spun off in 2005 as Live Nation, where Murphy remained as Chairman of the Southern California operation until 2011 when he joined AEG as West Coast President.

When AEG hired him, Murphy told the Los Angeles Times, “I love promoting concerts, every aspect of it. I’m a very hands-on promoter: working out marketing, ticketing, promotions, right down to night of show. Bands that work with me deserve my undivided attention.”

 

 

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