The promotional art inspired by the performers, the intimacy of the venues and the energy of the audience all combined to create experiences that are indelible in the minds of those who were there. This era was the true genesis for the years of great concert art that followed, as rock concerts evolved from their dance hall roots to the clubs, arenas, amphitheatres and stadiums of today.
Wolfgang was Bill Graham, the man whose genius for bringing performer and audience together shaped the rock concert as we have come to know it. Born Wolfgang Grajonca in Berlin in 1931, he escaped Nazi Germany to grow up in a foster home in the Bronx and anglicized his name at the age of 18. Bill Graham, who would come to be known as the midwife of the modern rock concert, was smart and forward-thinking, an opportunist and a listener, fair and ferociously demanding, and he remembered his roots: in the 1980s he opened a small San Francisco club and named it Wolfgang's.
Graham's creative vision led him to commission true works of art to promote his shows and, fortunately for the modern collector, his entrepreneurial instincts led him to overprint and preserve the exceptional art, photography and recordings that came from these shows. For over 30 years, his company accumulated and stored this material in newly minted condition. Until Wolfgang's Vault, if you could even find a Bill Graham Presents poster, it was frequently in less than mint condition because it was torn from walls or telephone poles as a concert souvenir.
The vast majority of material in Wolfgang's Vault comes from the exquisitely preserved, original archives of Bill Graham Presents, which we now own and manage. Beginning with the seminal concerts of the mid 1960s and continuing through today, we've assembled a superb collection that is being cared for in state-of-the-art facilities.
We have only begun to mine the depths of the Vault. We opened in October 2003 with our unparalleled collection of Poster Art and added our extraordinary vintage t-shirts, backstage passes, laminates and books shortly thereafter. In 2004 we released the BG Archive photography collection, and since then we have become the exclusive online source for five of the greatest rock photographers of all time: Jim Marshall, Baron Wolman, Michael Zagaris, Joe Sia and Gene Anthony.
The Vault is constantly undergoing exciting changes and developments. We've expanded our apparel line to include infant and kids wear, and we have launched Impresario, our homegrown clothing line. Concert Vault, which includes Vault Radio, has exposed thousands of listeners to the depths of the Bill Graham archive, the King Biscuit Flower Hour and the Silver Eagle Cross Country collections. The introduction of Big Ticket grants collectors access to a pristine and extremely rare collection of poster art that's not available anywhere else. We are regularly introducing fresh new product lines and special features like wrapping paper and poster reprints. The Vault continues to grow and evolve, with updates and additions constantly improving the look and function of our site.