Music Still Is What It Used To Be

You just have to know where to find it. Luckily, one concert promoter's trash turns out to be everyone's treasure.

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Illustration by Dewey Saunders
Music has always been a means of transport. It’s a mood stabilizer or an enhancer. It’s an elixir, an escape—at whatever speed you like.

Growing up, my mom’s Elvis Presley 45s and Neil Diamond 78s inspired me. But once I was old enough, I sought the classic rock I’d need to navigate my teen years, buying it on vinyl at Record Revolution in King of Prussia and Plastic Fantastic in Bryn Mawr.

That was the late 1970s. I was a decade behind the Summer of Love and playing catch-up. Today—for me, at least—the old music and its iconic personalities remain better than the new. But short of bringing back legendary bands (or what’s left of them), what’s a diehard to do?

One viable solution is Wolfgang’s Vault (, the world’s largest online archive of live music. Its content includes free access to 6,000 concert recordings in their entirety—some 60,000 songs—from the past 50 years. It’s also a vintage memorabilia store stocked with rare concert posters, photos, backstage passes, T-shirts and more.

What began in 2002 with the purchase of legendary promoter Bill Graham’s archives now includes 15 other kindred collections. Graham’s real name, Wolodia “Wolfgang” Grajonca, is the website’s namesake. From the 30,000 concerts he promoted between the mid-’60s and his death in 1991, he never discarded anything. Investor Bill Sagan bought all of it, spending millions of dollars to restore and preserve it.

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