Posters for Bill Graham Presents, 1969–1990
We will have all my Fillmore West and Special Event posters shown here in an archive very soon. But here is some general information:
From 1969 to 1990, I designed 75 posters for Bill Graham Presents (BGP), in San Francisco. Of these, 67 were for weekly concerts at Fillmore West (1969-1971), including BG-287, the final poster that ended the weekly series (July 1971). Later, I designed 8 Special Event posters for BGP: The Rolling Stones at Winterland, 1972; The Allman Brothers at Winterland, 1973; The Who at the Cow Palace, 1973; The Rolling Stones at Honolulu International Center, 1973; Santana "Festival" at Long Beach Arena, 1977; Santana 20th Anniversary Celebration, at Shoreline, 1986; Bob Dylan & Santana, Europe Tour, 1984; and Paul McCartney at Berkeley Memorial Stadium, 1990.
Several of the Special Event posters were commissioned by Santana Management, but their office was part of Bill Graham Presents, at that time, going back to when Bill managed the band, himself. So I count them as part of my BGP series.
Among collectors, there may be some confusion about whether I designed 66 or 67 Fillmore West posters. Both numbers are correct, because BG-266/267 was designed as two posters but kept as a single sheet. The two posters were printed side by side, as was the normal procedure, and I wanted the sheet cut in half to make twin posters that collectors could then reassemble. However, the sheet remained intact as a single image, hence it has two numbers. This happened because the printer, Levon Mosgofian, showed the printed sheet to Bill Graham, the day it was printed but before it was cut. Bill liked the full image so much that he asked Levon to leave it as a double-size poster. When I first saw it completed, it was already a done deal. The cards, however, were cut in two, except for the double mailers. A side note: it is interesting that the question of 66 or 67 posters concerns the BGP poster numbered BG-266/267, a strange coincidence.
The heart of the posters was the visual experience and what bands were playing—imagery and lettering. More about this later.