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Music promoter loomed large in 1980s

Michael Corcoran

Jim Ramsey, a prominent concert promoter in 1980s Austin, died Tuesday of liver cancer, friends said. He was 58.

Ramsey put Southpark Meadows on the map with a 1983 concert by the Police that drew more than 30,000 fans, and booked the first Austin shows by U2, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads .

Since 1998, Ramsey had worked in advertising, owning the Cactus agency.

"He was the bombastic promoter with a heart of gold," said former Club Foot booker Brad First.

Ramsey also booked the Backroom from 1986 to 1993, during its hair metal heyday.

"He provided a stage for a lot of rock bands who couldn't get booked into the punk clubs," First said.

One of the legendary Austin shows Ramsey booked was the politically charged Gang of Four at Club Foot on the night Ronald Reagan was elected president.

Ramsey, who grew up in McAllen, was diagnosed with Stage IV liver cancer in April, his longtime associate Ray Seggern said.

Ramsey is survived by his wife, Tracey; a daughter, Alexandra; and two sons, Evan and Theren. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home in Lakeway.

mcorcoran@statesman.com; 445-3652