Alex Cooley, legendary Atlanta concert promoter, passes away

A major part of Atlanta music history has died. Legendary concert promoter Alex Cooley passed away on Tuesday in Florida. He was 74, according to his former business partner Peter Conlon.

Cooley made a big splash on the local -- and national -- music scene in 1969 with the Atlanta International Pop Festival. The event, held in Byron, Ga.. featured more than 20 acts, including Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad and Canned Heat. The next year, more than 300,000 people reportedly attended a second festival in Byron, which included the Allman Brothers Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, B.B. King, Mott the Hoople, Mountain, Procol Harum, Grand Funk Railroad and Johnny Winter. 

Cooley later opened Alex Cooley's Electric Ballroom in the Grand Ballroom of the Georgian Terrance Hotel at 663 Peachtree Street NE, where he showcased such acts as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

After that, Cooley booked talent at the Great Southeast Music Hall at Lindbergh Plaza in Atlanta. The club was notable for being the first U.S. venue to book the Sex Pistols.

Cooley promoted thousands of shows across the country, launched Music Midtown in Atlanta and, according to Conlon, was instrumental establishing Atlanta's Chastain Park Ampitheater. He was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1987, and awarded a Grammy HEROES Award in 2004. He served on the Board of Governors for the Georgia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences. 

In recent years, Cooley owned Eddie's Attic in Decatur. 

Cooley died while visiting Ponde Vedra Beach in Florida, Conlon said.

PHOTOS: People we've lost in 2015

 

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