City Government

Published on January 5th, 2016 |


City honors Alex Cooley’s life; it began with Buckhead pizza gig

Alex Cooley, the “Unofficial Mayor of Atlanta Music” who was posthumously honored by the city Monday, got his first entrepreneurial experience by opening a Buckhead family-style pizza restaurant, Pappa’s Pizza Parlor, off Roswell Road where he booked gigs with a banjo player and a piano player.

Alex Cooley at his induction into Georgia's Music Hall of Fame.

Alex Cooley at his induction into Georgia’s Music Hall of Fame.

In later years, he brought major concerts to the Chastain Amphitheater in North Buckhead through Concerts/Southern Promotions, which he co-founded with Peter Conlon and with the support of Atlanta developer Steve Selig.

But Cooley, who died Dec. 1 in his Florida home at the age of 75, was an Atlanta native and former owner of Eddie’s Attic, attended Grady High School, Georgia State University and The University of Georgia before getting into the music industry.

Atlanta paid its respects to Cooley by declaring Jan. 4, 2016, “Alex Cooley Day” and posthumously presenting him with the Phoenix Award, the highest honor an individual or group can receive from the mayor, according to a report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta City Council, Live Nation Atlanta President Conlon and Eddie’s Attic Talent Buyer/Promoter Andy Hingley joined a crowd of nearly 100 at Atlanta City Hall to honor the long-time Atlanta concert promoter.

“Alex can be considered one of the men who helped the Atlanta community with race relations because it was he who brought acts like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin to perform at a Georgia music festival back in the ‘60s when music performers would not dare to come to the South,” Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell said, according to the ABC report.

“Alex knew music was color blind and loved by all. Today, we pause to remember him and his contribution to our great city,” Mitchell told the crowd at City Hall.

Alex Cooley died Dec. 1

Alex Cooley died Dec. 1

According to the ABC article, “Cooley began promoting music full-time after taking an impromptu trip to the Miami Pop Festival in 1968, then pooling together $170,000 from 17 friends to host the inaugural Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1969, which featured acts including Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Creedence Clearwater Revival.”

The following July, about 100 miles south of Atlanta near Byron, GA, the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival was held over three days and featured more than 30 musical acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Spirit, Hampton Grease Band and the Allman Brothers Band.

After Cooley stopped promoting festivals, he co-founded Concerts/Southern Promotions with Conlon and owned several Atlanta music venues, including Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom, Alex Cooley’s Capri Ballroom, The Roxy, The Cotton Club and The Tabernacle. He also booked performances at The Omni, The Great Southeast Music Hall and the Fox Theatre.

(To read the Atlanta Business Chronicle article, click here.)


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