Adviser Update Summer 2016 - Page 45

45 Bob Santelli , executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, was supposed to grow up and be in law enforcement like his dad, but The Beatles changed that. “When I was a kid, I always dreamt of being a writer,” Santelli said. “I was a big reader and I liked to write, but, coming from a working class family, my parents pretty much discouraged the possibility of their first son becoming anything but a police officer.” He has written for Rolling Stone magazine, published 14 books about music and travel, helped curate the first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, lectured several times about American music at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama and produced a centennial collection of Woody Guthrie recordings for the Smithsonian Folklore Archives. He has interviewed musical legends such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, and Bob Marley. Hanging in his grandmother’s home in Jersey City was what he calls the Holy Trinity – pictures of John F. Kennedy (because he was the first Catholic President), Pope John XXXIII (the pope at the time) and Frank Sinatra. “My earliest musical memories are pretty much of Frank Sinatra,” he said. “Sinatra was played in every Italian American home, especially in New Jersey.” Santelli explains that Sinatra’s kids were born in Jersey City, and Sinatra lived near the hospital where he was born. “I grew up a few miles away, so he was really important.” The night he heard The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, Feb. 19, 1964, “changed everything.” His destiny shifted and a rebellion to his parents’ music stirred. “Teen America woke up and changed,” he recalls. “It was like we were different people and I was one of them. I just couldn’t get enough of music after that. It was an epiphany.” He was so shaken by the moment that his previously avid participation in high school sports suffered, and dreams of the first-born following in his father’s footsteps faltered. “I know my father, who is a New Jersey State Trooper, really did not like that, but in 1965, he took me to my first concert.” Santelli sat in the front row; he was 10 feet away – eye contact and jaw-dropping distance – from Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. “That just propelled what I had seen a year earlier, the Beatles, and there was no turning back.” As with so much in Santelli’s life, timing and discipline play serendipitous roles. Although a history major, he got free albums and tickets to concerts by writing music reviews for his college newspaper. “I was passionate about music, and I was a musician. I thought that would be a great way to get into concerts free and to get records free, which I couldn’t afford. Then, it dawned on me that this was also a way to write, and so I did that.” By his senior year, he was the