The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


August 2012 | Blog Archives

Growing the Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives

Friday, August 31: 11 a.m.
Posted by Jennie Thomas
Master tapes of Cleveland punk legends the Dead Boys are part of the NEOPMA

Earlier this month, myself, the Grateful Dead archivist Nicholas Meriwether (who contributed to the Rock Hall's Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip exhibit and wrote about the Dead's "best performance") and nine other archivists from a wide array of archival institutions presented at the Society of American Archivists’ annual meeting in San Diego.

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America's oldest and largest national archival professional association. SAA's mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 5,500 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation and use of records of historical value.

Archivists from The Pennsylvania State University; McDonald’s Corporation; Harley Davidson Motor Company; University of Alabama Rare Books and Special Collections; The Coca-Cola Company; ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives; Microsoft Corporation; American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming; the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center; the Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library and Archives, gathered to each give a 5-minute talk about archival advocacy in their institutions and dialogue with each ...


continue Categories: Library and Archives

Rare Performances: Talking Heads Live in 2002

Wednesday, August 29: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
David Byrne performs "Psycho Killer" with his Talking Heads bandmates in 2002

"Boy, am I honored to be mentioned in the same breath as the Talking Heads," noted 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis after taking the podium to induct the Talking Heads into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

"I remember the exact place that I was, the exact moment that it happened, that I heard the Talking Heads for the first time," recalled Kiedis. "That's an incredible indication of what a beautiful influence they would have on my life, because there's not too many things I could say that about. I was in the living room of Donde Bastone, I was 15, it was 1977, and the song that he put on was 'Psycho Killer,' and I absolutely freaked out. I made him play that song over and over and over again because it was like nothing else I'd ever heard, and it made me feel like nothing else I'd ever felt.

"Some very strange things happened to me when I heard the Talking Heads," continued Kiedis, explaining how the Talking Heads made him feel smart and want to dance. He remarked ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Rare Performances

Spotlight Exhibit: Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound"

Tuesday, August 28: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia beside a small portion of the "Wall of Sound" /photo by Richard Pechner

The Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" was among the band's greatest gifts to fans and a remarkable technical achievement. Powered by McIntosh amps, the Dead's "Wall of Sound" quite literally helped set the stage for some of the group's most triumphant live performances. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer tells the story of its creation. Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012. Speakers and amplifiers from the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" are among the objects featured in the exhibit.


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit, Exclusive Interviews

Interview with James Brown Biographer RJ Smith

Monday, August 27: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Author RJ Smith discusses 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee James Brown

After presenting at the Rock Hall Library and Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 23, 2012, RJ Smith, author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where he discussed discoveries made while researching The One and how James Brown influenced many rock and roll musicians, including the Rolling Stones and the Who. Here, RJ Smith talks with the Rock Hall in the Museum's Cities and Sounds exhibit, in front of the "Respect – the Sound of Soul" display containing, among other artifacts, James Brown's "Sex" jumpsuit, which he wore on stage during the 1970s.


continue Categories: Inductee, Library and Archives, Exclusive Interviews

Spotlight Exhibit: Pink Floyd's The Division Bell Sculptures

Friday, August 24: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Pink Floyd's Division Bell sculptures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Based on a drawing by Keith Breeden and sculpted by Aden Hynes and John Robertson, the Division Bell sculptures appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd's last studio album, The Division Bell, in 1994. It was the fourth album of the band's career to reach Number One on the Billboard charts, helping make the two figures gracing the cover among Pink Floyd's most recognizable contributions to the iconography of rock and roll. Since 2001, they've also made quite an impression on visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, towering atop the entrance to the Hall of Fame on the Museum's third floor. 

In 2001, the Rock Hall's VP of Exhibitions and Curatorial Jim Henke connected with Pink Floyd's management to discuss adding the famous Division Bell "heads" to the Rock Hall's collection. At the time, both sculptures were being stored in a warehouse in Bedford, England, and transporting them to Cleveland presented a number of logistical issues. Despite their imposing presence – standing approximately 20 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep – the base of each is a simple wooden frame, surrounded by lightweight ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit

Rock and Roll vs. Censorship

Thursday, August 23: 9 a.m.

Given the recent fervor over Russian feminist punk rock collective Pussy Riot's arrest and subsequent sentencing and incarceration after staging a performance art protest in a Russian Orthodox cathedral, the Rock Hall started thinking about how censorship has always been a hot button issue in rock and roll. What’s happening in Russia now is not terribly far removed from repressive reactions to the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s, and reactions to various other manifestations of the artform throughout its history.

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich said this in her closing statement at the group’s trial: “On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.”

The National Coalition Against Censorship (with thanks to Eric Nuzum) notes these milestones in the infamous history of music censorship. Many of these milestones are covered in the Museum’s Don’t Knock the Rock exhibit, a video-driven exhibit about the protests against rock and roll ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit

Spotlight Exhibit: Joe Strummer's 1966 Fender Telecaster

Tuesday, August 21: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Joe Strummer with 1966 Fender Telecaster / photo by Masao Nakagami

The Clash possessed an indefinable chemistry that makes for a great band. Their explosive, uptempo punk-rock manifestos were unleashed with pure adrenaline and total conviction. Following the Sex Pistols’ dissolution in January 1978, the Clash became the central voice of the punk movement and remained at the forefront for five years. Their albums - The Clash (1977), Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978), London Calling (1979), Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982) - captured the tumult of the times with unerring instinct and raw power.

the Clash Joe Strummer signature Fender TelecasterRhythm guitarist Joe Strummer – born John Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, on August 21, 1952 – wrote most of the words and lead guitarist Mick Jones contributed much of the music. Bassist Paul Simonon’s background in painting and sculpture helped shape the band’s aesthetic overview. Topper Headon was a journeyman drummer who found his niche powering the Clash. “As a mix of personalities,” noted writer Lenny Kaye, “the Clash was a perfect engine.” They ran hottest on a concert stage, where all their political zeal and undaunted idealism found expression in music erupted with an exhilarating forcefulness. Lester Bangs described the Clash in concert as “a desperation uncontrived, unstaged, a fury unleashed on the stage and writhing ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit

Summer in the City: Interview with Sharon Van Etten

Tuesday, August 21: 9:33 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Sharon Van Etten performs live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

With her 2009 debut album, Because I Was in Love, New Jersey–native Sharon Van Etten captured the attention of audiences, critics and musicians, who were drawn to her intimate musical portraits etched with introspective lyrics and varied arrangements. Since Van Etten's acclaimed 2010 release Epic, she's played the Pitchfork Music Festival, performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Neko Case, appeared live on the BBC and was recently named a "must-see act" by Rolling Stone. Her latest album, 2012's Tramp, was recorded during a 14-month period of scattered sessions, where the only constant was the garage studio and input of producer Aaron Dessner of the National. Here, the Rock Hall catches up with the singer/songwriter, who shares insights about life on the road, why she loves playing in New York City and what people can expect of her live performances. Sharon Van Etten will headline a free concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 22, 2012, part of the Summer in the City concert series. 

Rock Hall: How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard it before?

Sharon Van Etten: My style ...


continue Categories: Summer in the City, Exclusive Interviews
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