BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
The memory of Alex Cooley lives on near Chastain Park Amphitheatre.
The respected Atlanta concert promoter, who died in December 2015, maintained a long relationship with the venue.
Cooley and concert promoter partner Peter Conlon began booking shows in the wooded enclave in the mid-‘80s as Concert/Southern Promotions – Conlon recalls Jerry Jeff Walker (of “Mr. Bojangles” fame) and Leon Redbone as their first big-name scores – before steadily filling the 6,900-capacity bowl with dozens of shows every year in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
“Alex convinced James Taylor to play there,” Conlon said. “A lot of acts weren’t sure what (Chastain) was and on his reputation he convinced them to take a shot at it. He raised the level of talent that played there to a new level.”
Now, the road that runs near the backstage entrance has been officially christened Honorary Alex Cooley Parkway (it was previously unnamed, but known casually as Chastain Parkway).
Conlon, Cooley’s close friend and business cohort, worked with the City of Atlanta to erect the street sign in Cooley’s honor.
Live Nation Atlanta, which Conlon heads as president, currently manages and operates Chastain Park Amphitheatre, which produces about 30 shows per season.
“I wanted to make sure that he was remembered,” Conlon said of his longtime friend, then added with a smile, “I’ll have to make sure (Cooley pal) Willie (Nelson) sees it.”