Joplin Manager Chet Helms Dies
Chet Helms, the "father of the Summer of Love," who brought Janis Joplin to San Francisco, died Saturday (June 25) from stroke complications at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He wChet Helms, the "father of the Summer of Love," who brought Janis Joplin to San Francisco, died Saturday (June 25) from stroke complications at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He was 62.
Helms was the founder and manager of Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Joplin as its lead singer. He was a rock'n'roll impresario who helped staged the free concerts and "Human Be-ins" at Golden Gate Park that became the backdrop for San Francisco's Summer of Love in 1967.
He was the first producer of psychedelic light-show concerts at the Fillmore the Avalon Ballroom and was instrumental in helping to develop bands delivering the San Francisco sound.
"Without Chet, there would be no Grateful Dead, no Big Brother and the Holding Company, no Jefferson Airplane, no Country Joe & the Fish, no Quicksilver Messenger Service," said Barry Melton, the lead guitarist for Country Joe & the Fish.
Chester Leo Helms was born in Santa Maria, Calif., in 1942 and spent most of his youth in Missouri and Texas, where he tested his organizing powers by helping to stage benefits for civil and human rights groups. He moved from Austin to San Francisco in 1962, returning once to persuade his old college pal Joplin to hitchhike back with him.
He hooked Joplin up with Big Brother for jam sessions in a Haight Ashbury basement and they debuted in June 1966 at the Avalon, officially launching the short career of the rock diva.
Helms ran the Atelier Dore art gallery on Bush Street in San Francisco since 1980 until he retired last year.
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