The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

February 2013 | Blog Archives

Preview of "Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Wednesday, February 27: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Behind the scenes of the Rock Hall's new Rolling Stones exhibit, opening May 24, 2013

On May 24, 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will unveil a new, two-story retrospective exhibit titled "Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction." Among the artifacts to be included in the Rolling Stones exhibit is the original collage art design that would appear in the inner gatefold sleeve of the group's Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Their Satanic Majesties Request was a psychedelic response to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released seven months prior to the Stones' effort in 1967. With psychedelia in full-swing, 1967 proved an eventful year for the Rolling Stones – most infamously following the arrests of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on drug charges following a police raid during a party at the latter's Redlands home in Sussex. Among those also in attendance, though not detained, was Richards' friend and photographer Michael Cooper. 

original album art for Rolling Stones Their Satanic Majesties RequestThroughout the Sixties, Cooper, a fixture on the London art and music scenes, captured many iconic images of artists, including the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Marianne Faithfull. However, arguably his most candid images came from his time with the Stones. (pictured, left: original collage art for Their Satanic Majesties ...

continue Categories: Gallery Talk, Inductee, Exhibit, Event

Top of the Charts: Michael Jackson's "Thriller"

Tuesday, February 26: 3:30 p.m.
Posted by Shelby Morrison
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" remains among the biggest albums of all time.

On February 26, 1983, Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit Number One on the Billboard 200 chart. The 1982 release was revolutionary, a watershed moment in the history of rock and roll. It earned a record-breaking number of Grammy awards, sold in record numbers, resulted in music videos that changed promotional possibilities, broke down racial barriers and left a legacy of influence that continues to this day. 

Thriller was recorded with a production budget of $750,000 in 1982 and was produced by 2013 Hall of Fame Inductee Quincy Jones. Jackson and Jones combed through more than 700 demos – some Jackson had committed to a voice recorder – to find songs for his new album, eventually settling on a handful of tracks that included Jackson originals “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “The Girl is Mine,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” All four of the songs that Jackson composed were reflections of both personal and social issues surrounding the "King of Pop": In “Billie Jean,” Jackson speaks about an obsessive fan who alleges that Jackson has fathered a child with her; “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” was a rebuttal against gossip surrounding his life and the media; “The Girl is Mine,”was a song ...

continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock, Black History Month

Celebrating George Harrison on his Birthday

Monday, February 25: 3:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
George Harrison would've turned 72 on February 25, 2015

Born in Liverpool on February 25, 1943, George Harrison was the more subdued, pensive – "quiet" – Beatle, and he carried this persona with him into his solo career. With 11 studio albums, including his sprawling masterwork 1970's All Things Must Pass and a late-career gem, 1987's Cloud Nine, Harrison's rock and roll legacy is enduring. Deft at seamlessly bridging his immersion in Hindu religion, Krishna consciousness and Vedic philosophy, with pure pop sensibility, Harrison's solo oeuvre resulted in such hits as “My Sweet Lord” (from All Things Must Pass), ”Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)" (from 1973's Living in the Material World), "All Those Years Ago" (from 1981's Somewhere in England) and the infectious soul remake "Got My Mind Set On You" (from Cloud Nine).

"He often said he wasn't pursuing a solo career at all – he never hired a manager or had an agent," recalled Tom Petty at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, when he and Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra inducted Harrison. "He just loved playing music with his friends. And he loved guitars. And he loved rock and roll. And he loved ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock, Exclusive Interviews

Essential Bobby Womack: Top Songs from the Bravest Man in the Universe

Thursday, February 21: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bobby Womack will perform live at the Rock Hall on Friday, February 22, 2013!

On Friday, February 22, 2013, Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Womack will perform live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Joined on stage by his full band, including  horn section and backup singers, Cleveland native Womack promises a setlist brimming with fiery classics from his storied recording career, as well as cuts from his 2012 release, The Bravest Man in the Universe

In advance of Womack's concert and interview in the Museum's Foster Theater, the Rock Hall looks at six brilliant Womack songs covering the period of 1964 to 2012. 

The Valentinos – “It’s All Over Now” 

Bobby Womack sings lead on this 1964 song he wrote with Shirley Womack, and recorded with his brothers Friendly, Jr., Curtis, Harry and Cecil. Within a month of its release, the Rolling Stones had their first Number One hit in the UK with a cover of this song. Womack continued to make the song his own in later years as a solo artist.


Bobby Womack – “That’s the Way I Feel About ‘Cha” from Communication (1971)

This song was ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Black History Month, Event

On Exhibit: Nirvana

Wednesday, February 20: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
1992 Nirvana concert poster, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Born on February 20, 1967, today would've been Kurt Cobain's 46th birthday. Emerging from the burgeoning grunge movement of the early 80s – an alternative sub genre that incorporated elements of indie, punk, hardcore and heavy metal – the Cobain-fronted Nirvana came together in 1987, releasing their debut Bleach in 1989, with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing.

In April 1990, Nirvana began work on its second album. With drummer Chad Channing leaving the band, Cobain and Novoselic recorded tracks with Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters and later Dale Crover of the Melvins, both friends from the Seattle music scene. Eight songs were recorded for the group's demo: "Immodium" (later renamed "Breed"), "Dive" (later released as the B-side to "Sliver"), "In Bloom," "Pay to Play" (eventually renamed "Stay Away" and given a new set of lyrics), "Sappy," "Lithium," "Here She Comes Now" (released on Velvet Underground Tribute Album: Heaven and Hell Volume 1) and "Polly." The band added two tracks from Bleach to the tape and used the recording to shop for a new label. Within a few months, the demo tape was circulating among major labels, creating a buzz around the group. The band would eventually sign ...

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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "The Tracks of My Tears"

Tuesday, February 19: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
1987 Hall of Fame Inductee Smokey Robinson

Born on February 19, 1940,  Smokey Robinson is among the most enduring songwriters of the 1960s. He also produced great records, notably by his own group, 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees the Miracles, and by the Temptations, Mary Wells and Marvin Gaye. Finally, Robinson was a great performer, the longest-lasting aspect of his career. But performing was Robinson's least predictable talent. He couldn't really be called a soul singer. Jackie Wilson influenced every first-generation male Motown singer, but even at the Miracles' most raucous, Robinson was no belter like Wilson. His singing bore traces of doo-wop and 1950s R&B, but no gospel. He was the most controlled of the great soulsters, at his best as an unruffled ballad singer – Motown's answer to Bing Crosby, or at least Billy Eckstine. "The Tracks Of My Tears" may be Robinson's greatest record. Without disparaging his beautifully disciplined voice, its power comes from elements in the arrangement:  huge drums, a lovely guitar line and sharp horns. Then there are the lyrics, with their irresistible rhymes. "My smile is my makeup I wear since my breakup with you" is tremendous not because it's profound, but because it says ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews

Gallery Talk: Robert Lockwood Jr.'s Custom Guitar

Monday, February 18: 1 p.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
Robert Lockwood Jr. with custom guitar, now on exhibit at the Rock Hall in Cleveland

On February 11, 2013, Robert Lockwood Jr.'s custom 12-string electric guitar was placed on permanent exhibit in the Roots of Rock and Roll galleries at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Lockwood Jr.'s widow, Mary Lockwood, joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in presenting the famed bluesman's unique guitar, which was his primary instrument until his death in 2006 at age 91. 

Lockwood was taught to play the guitar by fabled songwriter and guitarist Robert Johnson, the first modern bluesman, and recorded as a solo artist for more than half a century. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the guitar Lockwood called "the most beautiful guitar I've ever seen" and why Lockwood was crowned the king of Cleveland blues. 

continue Categories: Gallery Talk, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Black History Month

Love Rocks: A Special Tour of the Rock Hall

Thursday, February 14: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Rock and roll lovebirds Les Paul and Mary Ford.

For decades, love, in all its permutations, has proven among rock and roll's most powerful tonics. From blissful to bawdy, artists have regaled listeners with memorable tales of romance that have inspired and infuriated, giving the language of love a bold voice in the process.

Through February 17, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is sharing the love with a special self-guided tour highlighting artifacts that relate rock's more romantic side. Visitors to the Rock Hall on February 14 will be treated to a special curator-led version of the tour, which covers the Beatles, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, U2 and more.

Among the artifacts featured are the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," written by Tony Asher and Brian Wilson, and appearing on 1966's Pet Sounds. Wilson originally disliked the opening line of the song, “I may not always love you,” feeling it was “too negative." After hearing the rest of Asher's lyrics, however, he changed his mind. “God Only Knows” was one of the first pop songs to use the word “god” in its title, and though he feared the worst, Wilson decided ...

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