HITS Daily Double

Frank Barsalona Passes

FRANK BARSALONA, 74, the pioneering music agent whose Premier Talent agency revolutionized the rock concert business, died last Thursday (11/22) after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Barsalona began his career at N.Y. talent agency GAC, where he booked the first U.S. appearances by the Beatles, the Stones and the Yarcbirds. He launched his own agency in 1964 with the Who, Herman’s Hermits and Mitch Ryder, moving the shows to large venues with full-length sets instead of the package tours with 15-minute performances that had existed in the past. He went on to represent the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, J. Geils Band, Tom Petty, Van Halen and U2, enabling musicians to earn a good portion of their living through touring, upgrading the quality of the live rock presentation. Through his agency and partner Barbara Skydel, Barsalona developed a national network of promoters which included the likes of Bill Graham in San Francisco, Ron Delsener in New York and Don Law in Boston. In March 2002, Barsalona merged his Premier with the William Morris Agency, and after serving as a consultant, he retired from the business. Premier brought to WMA such acts as Roger Waters, the Who, Keith Richards, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Pretenders, Sinead O'Connor, Pete Townshend, Bob Geldof, Marianne Faithful, Sebastian Bach, Greg Lake and Suzanne Vega. Barsalona was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Steven Van Zandt in 2005. According to his family, a January memorial will "celebrate his life and legacy in a very rock 'n' roll way, as he would have wanted." (11/26a)