Colorado's biggest and best music promoter Barry Fey died on Sunday. He was 73.
Fey helped turn live music into a brand pillar for the Rocky Mountain region. Fresh from Chicago and a stint in the Marine Corps, at the age of 27, Fey began his extraordinary career as one of rock's most prolific promoters by opening the now defunct Family Dog concert hall in 1967, debuting with Big Brother & the Holding Company fronted by singer Janis Joplin. In its 10 months of its existence, the Family Dog gained national attention as did Fey's knack for booking the right bands at the right time. Signing acts such as Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead, Fey quickly established Denver as a "must-play" market.
Fey launched his company, Feyline Presents, a short time later. Fey then transformed the "Summer of Stars" concert series at Red Rocks into a top "bucket list" event for music lovers all over the world. He has produced more top-grossing tours for the Who and the Rolling Stones than anyone else in the world, and he was behind the U2 "Under a Blood Red Sky" concert video at Red Rocks — a music video that helped the amphitheatre and Denver gain international fame. Fey also played a role in saving the Paramount Theatre from destruction and helped bring the Colorado Rockies to Denver. He is also credited with, at least partly, rescuing classical music in Denver with the creation of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
Fey published his first acclaimed book, "Backstage Past" in November 2011. The book features behind-the-scenes stories from his decades-long rock-and-roll career. "Barry was the first promoter to book Black Sabbath in 1971," Ozzy Osbourne wrote in one of its forewords. "He was the first one to believe in us."
Fey had been recovering from a recent hip-replacement surgery.
Greg Moody, an entertainment critic for CBS Channel 4 TV in Denver, was a close friend of Fey's. He reported on air Sunday night that Fey took his own life. The death is under investigation.
Fey was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Just last month, he was inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. His success has been revered around the country.
Fey will be remembered as a colorful character who put Colorado on the music map.