Today the Rolling Stones announced their 2013 tour schedule (see below). Between that Rolling Stones news and the work the Curatorial, Exhibitions and Collections staff have been doing to get ready for Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction, a feature exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opening May 24, I've been immersed in the "world's greatest rock and roll band" for several months. Among other things, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit will highlight the Rolling Stones touring during the last half century, years of concerts that have made them one of the best – if not the best – live rock and roll acts in history.
I was lucky to grow up in Detroit, Michigan, at a time when music was everywhere and radio was vibrant and meaningful. That city produced so many extraordinary musicians – Hank Ballard, Jackie Wilson, the MC5, the Stooges, Bob Seger, the entire Motown roster – it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. Detroit gave rise to some of the genre's best. It was there I became captivated by the Rolling Stones.
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.
Born January 19, 1943, Janis Joplin brought her powerful, bluesy voice from Texas to San Francisco’s psychedelic scene, where she went from drifter to superstar. She has been called “the greatest white urban blues and soul singer of her generation.”
In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the full story behind 1995 Hall of Fame inductee Janis Joplin's famously psychedelic 1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet. The car is among the featured artifacts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is home to a singular collection of Jimi Hendrix artifacts that help tell his story, from his boyhood days in Seattle, Washington, through his meteoric rise to superstardom.
In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer tells the story behind two of the guitars featured in the Rock Hall's Jimi Hendrix exhibit: the 1967 Gibson Flying V dubbed "Love Drops" and the 1960s 12-string Zemaitis acoustic made famous when Hendrix played it in the 1973 movie A Film About Jimi Hendrix.
Among the first artists ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Chuck Berry is often referred to as the "Father of Rock and Roll" – a well deserved title, according to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer. In this clip, Kramer shares the handwritten lyrics to two of Chuck Berry's famous recordings: "Carol" and "School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)." The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday on October 18 with two special exhibits: a Chuck Berry Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and a special Chuck Berry exhibit at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives. Berry is the 2012 American Music Masters honoree, and his life and work will be celebrated with a weeklong series of events beginning on October 22, 2012 and culminating in a Chuck Berry–tribute concert on October 27, 2012.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the Grateful Dead's performances at the Great Pyramid of Giza in 1978, including the dress vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux wore during one of the Grateful Dead's performances during the group's three-night engagement and the artwork created by Kerry to commemorate the occasion. Both items are featured in Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012.
The Dells are one of the longest-lived rhythm & blues vocal groups. Their origins date back to 1952, and the group’s original lineup – lead tenor Johnny Funches, second tenor Verne Allison, lead baritone Marvin Junior, baritone Michael “Mickey” McGill and bass Chuck Barksdale – changed only when John E. Carter replaced Funches in 1959. Between 1956 and 1992, the Dells racked up an astonishing 46 R&B hits. Eight of those made the pop Top 40, including their signature songs, “Stay in My Corner” and “Oh, What a Nite.” They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
In this clip, curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the Dells and their onstage battle against 1996 Hall of Fame inductees Gladys Knights and the Pips at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The Dells are featured in a special exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
After the Beatles achieved success, they could afford the kind of instruments they had only dreamed about as struggling musicians. Although Gretsch guitars were primarily associated with George Harrison, John Lennon acquired this particular guitar in 1966. He used it during the recording of "Paperback Writer" in April of that year.
In this video, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer discusses the guitar and the unique circumstances that brought it to the Rock Hall, where it is on display as part of the Museum's Beatles exhibit.
WATCH: Spotlight Exhibit: John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120