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Iconic NYC Rock Club Owner Passes


The music world lost a seminal figure on February 13 when Paul Colby, owner and operator of the famed Bitter End in New York City, died at the age of 96 from natural causes.

The news was made public on Tuesday (February 18) as the Greenwich Village club -- which Colby retained an ownership stake in until his death -- placed a photo of him in its front window to share the news.

Colby came to the Bitter End in 1965 as club manager and talent booker after a career as a song agent for Benny Goodman, Irving Berlin and Guy Lombardo.

Under his direction the Bitter End became a showcase stop for folk, rock and R&B acts, with a list that ran from America to Frank Zappa and also included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Linda Ronstadt, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye, Joe Walsh, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Carly Simon and many more.

The Bitter End also provided a launch pad for comedians such as Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Cheech & Chong, Ray Romano, Richard Pryor, Cheech & Chong, Andy Kaufman.

Colby effectively retired during the early 90s to focus on painting and building furniture, though he still came to the club regularly.

Colby is survived by his wife, Pamela, and a brother, Morty. His Bitter End co-owners are planning an all-star memorial to take place in the near future.