Friday, February 21, 2014

Paul Colby, RIP

Put this in the category of people who should have been famous - but weren't.

Paul Colby managed and owned the famous Greenwich Village club The Bitter End for decades. And, unlike so many of those clubs, it still exists today. It was, and is, a small cramped venue where people interested in emerging artists came and gave the newbies a chance to practice their craft in front of an audience.

And several of these newbies became legends.

Everyone from Bob Dylan to Woody Allen to Lady Gaga got there start performing there. Kris Kristofferson practically credits the The Bitter End for his entire career.

Several years ago, when CBGBs closed, there were lots of stories of unpaid rent and mismanagement that led to its demise. Sure, there was a greedy landlord who hiked the rent but many disputed why this great club had to close. So it's a wonderful thing that someone like Paul Colby could keep a place like The Bitter End running for years. Without him, none of these artists would have had a stage to perform on.

A great New Yorker with a great legacy, Colby died recently at the amazing age of 96 years old. Because of him, our city's cultural life was made a lot richer and, for that, we thank him.

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