If you are a music lover and lived in Atlanta in the 1970s, the name Alex Cooley legendary. Cooley was the top concert promoter for big name acts in the city and the founder of Music Midtown. From Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to Prince, Cooley brought the top acts to Atlanta under the name “Alex Cooley Present’s” or the now defunct Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom.
Cooley died on Tuesday of this week at the age of 74 and Atlanta lost a music icon. Cooley was born and raised in Atlanta and started prompting concerts in his twenties. In 1969, he brought Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, the Staple Singers and others to the Atlanta Motor Speedway and a year later brought mega band The Grateful Dead to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park for a free concert.
His venue the Electric Ballroom saw such acts as Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen and many other major stars. If you did not know Alex Cooley, chances are you were not going to get a big concert in Atlanta. Cooley had a longstanding partnership with Concert/Southern Promotions, which booked as many as 300+ acts a year at its height. He later sold his share in the company and it was purchased by Clear Channel Communication and subsequent events were booked by Live Nation Atlanta.
Cooley’s impact in the Atlanta music scene was unprecedented and he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1987.