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February 2014 | Blog Archives

Johnny Cash Performs with Louis Armstrong in Rare TV Performance

Wednesday, February 26: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Hall of Fame Inductees Louis Armstrong and Johnny Cash perform together on Cash's TV show in 1970.

What happens when two musical giants collide, when two Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees defying genres and generations share the stage? On October 28, 1970 just that happened on Johnny Cash's TV variety show, when he welcomed "the great Louis Armstrong." Cash opened the introduction, remarking: "This country has given the world three original art forms – country music, jazz and Louis Armstrong."

Promoting his 1970 collection of country and western standards (fittingly titled Country & Western) and sporting an oversized cowboy hat, Armstrong sang "Crystal Chandeliers," the country classic originally sung by Charley Pride; and "Ramblin' Rose," a song made popular by Nat King Cole.

With the performance wrapped, Armstrong took a seat beside Cash, both musicians holding their instruments of choice: a trumpet and a guitar, respectively. "You've been at it a long time," Cash said to Armstrong. "I know that. We did a little research on some of your recordings; we find that on July 16, 1930, you played trumpet on a session with the late Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music. That was in Hollywood, right?"

Armstrong explained the ostensibly unlikely pairing: "We had a meeting one morning and Jimmie said, 'Man, I ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash

On her 81st birthday, Yoko Ono Opens Up in Interview

Tuesday, February 18: 12:50 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Yoko Ono

Although her relationship with John Lennon is often paramount in the rock world's esteem of her, Yoko Ono remains a pivotal figure in the evolution of conceptual art, challenging perceptions with avant-garde and experimental installations, music, fashion and more. For decades, Ono has also been a champion of peace and understanding, and a tireless activist: from the "Bed-ins for Peace" with husband John Lennon in 1969 that ultimately beget "Give Peace a Chance" to creating Artists Against Fracking in 2012 with her son, Sean Lennon, to protest the controversial drilling method.

On her 81st birthday, Yoko Ono opens up on her relationship with Paul McCartney, recording with members of the Beastie Boys, writing about and with her son Sean Lennon and celebrating her late husband's legacy. 

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist back in 1994. Paul McCartney inducted him and read a letter to him, and you accepted the award. What was that like?

Yoko Ono: It was good, but it was a long time ago. I was very, very happy that John was inducted, and it was very sweet of Paul to ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, Today in Rock, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, History of Rock and Roll

Rare Photo Collection of Grammy Award-winning Harmonica Player Sugar Blue Unveiled

Friday, February 14: 4:44 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Rare rock moments: Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger with Sugar Blue

This week, the Rock Hall's Library and Archives unveiled a new collection of rare and candid photographs donated by Grammy Award-winning harmonica player Sugar Blue.

Perhaps best known for his signature riff and solo on the Rolling Stones' hit "Miss You," harmonica virtuoso Sugar Blue (born James Whiting) made his first recordings in 1975 with legendary bluesmen Brownie McGhee and Roosevelt Sykes. Blue can be heard on the Rolling Stones' Some Girls, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You. He received a 1985 Grammy Award for his work on the compilation album, Blues Explosion, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Blue has performed and recorded with musicians ranging from Willie Dixon to Stan Getz to Frank Zappa to Bob Dylan. Blue was among the featured performers at the 18th Annual Music Masters concert, honoring the music of the Rolling Stones

Visit the Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction feature exhibit before it closes on March 2, 2014.

Sugar Blue, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy perform live rare photo

(l-r) Eric Clapton, Sugar Blue and Buddy Guy.

The Sugar Blue Photographs collection at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives includes seven digital images of the award-winning harmonica player performing with various collaborators and contemporaries, including Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, John Lee ...


continue Categories: Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Rolling Stones, American Music Masters, Education, Library and Archives

50 Years Ago: Beatlemania and the Instruments that Conquered America

Friday, February 7: 10:53 a.m.
Posted by Andy Babiuk
The Beatles rehearse before appearing on Ed Sullivan in 1964

Sunday, February 9, 1964 was the day that changed music and pop culture forever. The Ed Sullivan Show was one of the most popular television programs in the United States and at 8pm Eastern Standard Time, the Beatles made their live debut on American national television before an estimated 73 million people. This single television appearance mesmerized an entire generation. How many future musicians’ dreams began that day? How many kids were inspired to form bands and be like the Beatles? Virtually every famous American rock musician would say later: “When I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan it changed my life.”

It was on that Sunday night that the Beatles conquered America and Beatlemania had taken hold of the nation. Their music, mop-top hairstyles, matching suits and "Beatle" boots all helped create the image that we all know and love, but it was their instruments that also made a huge impression on everyone watching. Paul McCartney’s Hofner 500/1 bass, John Lennon’s 325 Rickenbacker guitar, George Harrison’s Gretsch Country Gentleman and Ringo Starr’s Ludwig drum set, all became extensions of each of their personalities.

This instrumental lineup was a major part of America’s first ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Event, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame

On the Beatles 50th Anniversary, Sean Ono Lennon Plays "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

Thursday, February 6: 1:08 p.m.
Posted by Alexandra Fagan

In 1988, a young Sean Ono Lennon – John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s only son – took to the podium as the Beatles accepted their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors. Obviously nervous and encouraged by Ringo Starr to say a few words, Sean explained: “I’m pretty young to know about this still, but I still love the Beatles, and I’m pretty proud to be up here today for doing nothing.” Twenty-six years later, Sean Ono Lennon, a talented musician and composer, was again paying tribute to the legacy of the music his father and the Beatles created. This time, prompted by the 50th  anniversary of the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan

In honor of the Beatles anniverary, artists from all genres have been performing together on The Late Show With David Letterman. Last night, the Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon covered the Beatles' psychedelic rock classic “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Lead singer, Wayne Coyne, stood tall on a road case with shimmering ribbons dangling from his arms and a tangled tentacle arrangement of LED lights adorning his mic stand. Lennon donned the same hat his dad wore in the cover art of the 1970s compilation ...


continue Categories: The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll

A Beatles' Dozen: 12 Memorable Rock Songs Covered by the Beatles

Wednesday, February 5: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Beatles "Twist and Shout" EP from 1963

The members of the Beatles fell under the spell of rock and roll early on. When the new sound first broke in 1955 and 1956, it caught the attention of Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The lads bought rock and roll records and went to movies where they could see rock and roll stars perform. 

As a band, the Beatles are often regarded as being second-generation rock and rollers, but as kids and as players, they were very much inspired by rock's first generation. They fell in love with rock's “big bang” moment; artists like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and other artists that would be key to their sound and genesis as a band. As the formative Beatles coalesced, they covered songs by the artists they liked, adding early rock and roll cuts to the set lists as they honed their group dynamic.

Be part of the Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Rock Hall on February 9, 2014

The Beatles Please Please Me Album Cover Art

Sometimes the Beatles are said to have saved rock and roll. However, at the time the group landed stateside in 1964, Motown had already been cranking out hits ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, The Beatles, Hall of Fame

Ringo Starr's Photo Album of His Life: Now on View at the Library & Archives

Wednesday, February 5: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Ringo Starr self-portrait / Courtesy of Genesis Publications and Ringo Starr

"This is how we saw most of the world when it got big for the Beatles," says Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ringo Starr of his PHOTOGRAPH tome from Genesis Publications. "You'll find several of the shots in this book are from my point of view, looking out of a car window. That's just how it was. You had to get to the gig, and then get away from the gig to wherever you were going next."

PHOTOGRAPH gives rock fans a first-hand look into Starr's life behind – and away from – the drum kit. With more than 250 rare and unseen photographs from Starr's personal collection, PHOTOGRAPH compiles mementos and memories from his childhood, the Beatles and beyond. "I love pictures put together, showing different times of your life," says Starr. "At the time, I never thought that there would be a whole book of my photographs."

Be part of the Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Rock Hall on February 9, 2014

2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Brian Epstein with Paul McCartney and the Beatles in 1964Beatles fans will get rare and candid looks into the Fab Four's inner circle, with photos of George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon through the decades, with early archival ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Library and Archives

Beatlemania Comes to the United States

Monday, February 3: 10:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Beatles – "I Want to Hold Your Hand"

By December 1963, England had enjoyed nearly a year of Beatlemania. The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had sold millions of records for EMI's Parlophone imprint. The group’s first single, “Love Me Do”/”P.S. I Love You,” briefly dented the U.K. Top 20 in October 1962, but their next 45, “Please Please Me,” formally ignited Beatlemania in their homeland, reaching the Number Two spot. It was followed in 1963 by three consecutive chart-topping British singles: “From Me to You” “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They conquered the U.K., even inducing a classical music critic from the Sunday Times to declare them “the greatest composers since Beethoven.” Moreover, they were the greatest rockers since the composer of “Roll Over Beethoven” – Chuck Berry. Still, success in America remained elusive for manager Brian Epstein and his young charges, as Capitol – EMI's American label – refused to release the Beatles' first four British singles, one label executive noting, "We don't think the Beatles will do anything in this market." Everything would change with "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Be part of the Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Today in Rock
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