(CNN) — The promoter and agent who first brought The Beatles to America has died.
Sid Bernstein died Wednesday in New York City, publicist Merle Frimark said in a statement. He was 95.
Bernstein helped start the “British invasion” by bringing The Beatles to Carnegie Hall and later, to New York’s Shea Stadium for landmark concerts in 1965 and 1966.
Bernstein booked the Carnegie Hall concert in August 1963 — the same year that Capitol Records had rejected three singles from the group.
“I’m a hunch player, you see,” Bernstein once said, according to his publicist’s statement. “I was just glad to get this group I had been reading about for months. It took eight months after I booked them for there to be any airplay of their records on the radio. I had to convince Carnegie Hall and my financial backers to take a chance on this then-unknown group. I had been reading about their progress in the European papers and was fascinated with the hysteria that surrounded them. I was the first to promote The Beatles in the States and Ed Sullivan called me first about them before he ever booked them on his television show.”
Ultimately, it was Sullivan’s audience who heard them first, on February 9, 1964. The Carnegie Hall concert that Bernstein booked was three days later.
Bernstein, the son of Russian immigrants, also booked top acts like Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and the Rolling Stones.
He is survived by six children, six grandchildren and his wife of 50 years, Geraldine.