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A Look at the 2010 Induction Nominating Committee

Friday, September 11: 5:03 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Nominating Committee – a diverse group made up of about 30 rock and roll experts, including music executives, music journalists, historians and even a couple of musicians – met in New York City this past Wednesday to compile the ballot for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee election. The committee meets once a year, and prior to the meeting, each member of the committee receives a package that includes a list of all of the artists who are eligible for the first time, all of the artists who have been nominated in the past but who have not been inducted and all of the artists who are currently eligible. Each member of the group can suggest up to three potential nominees. In addition, there are three subcommittees – one on progressive rock and heavy metal, one on hip-hop and one on early rock and rollers and rhythm & blues – that convene prior to the big meeting and suggest potential nominees in those categories. The only official eligibility requirement is that an artist must have released his or her first record at least 25 years ago.

Beyond that, the committee evaluates the influence an ...


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Music Knows No Borders

Tuesday, September 1: 12 p.m.
Posted by Todd Mesek

Last week, a group of about 12 or 13 cultural festival organizers from the Republic of Georgia came to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. They wanted to get a better sense of what we do to tell our story, to learn more about our organization and, in general, to exchange ideas.

The conversation that ensued made for a memorable meeting – one that reminds all of us about the power of rock and roll.

To start, we provided an overview of the Museum, the Inductions, and our mission to collect, preserve and interpret the cultural relevance of rock and roll. We spoke of our exhibit on rock and roll and free speech, Don’t Knock the Rock. We also talked about our education programs, which include classes on music as a tool for social change, referencing the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, Woodstock and myriad other moments when rock and roll connected people and served as a catalyst for new ideas.

The “new ideas” notion took root with this audience. Several people began to talk about going to great lengths to listen to rock and roll music. Our friends told us  stories of their fathers ...


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Hitsville USA

Tuesday, August 3: 12:10 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley
Rock Hall inductee Dennis Edwards of the Temptations (right) with Director of Education Jason Hanley

Last week at the Rock Hall the buzz was all about Hitsville USA.  On Wednesday the Education Department featured a Rock and Roll Night School program on Motown, and on Friday we welcomed Inductee Dennis Edwards of the Temptations for an afternoon Hall of Fame Series event.  And don’t forget that this week is your final chance to see the excellent exhibit MOTOWN: The Sound of Young America Turns 50.

This month’s Rock and Roll Night School, our second on the music of Motown, focused on the years 1964 to 1967, when the label was hitting its stride, cranking out hit after hit, and going head to head with the sounds of the British invasion.  Several factors lead to Motown’s success during this period.  One was Berry Gordy’s vision and business smarts.  By owning the recording, publishing, marketing, distribution, and management he was able to connect every part of the music business and control the sound and image that became the Motown brand.  Another key development was connecting a team of songwriters to a specific musical group.  In the case of Holland-Dozier-Holland this meant teaming with the Supremes and the Four Tops, and the result was ...


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The New Orleans Spirit

Friday, October 29: 12:47 p.m.
Posted by Greg Harris
Dave Bartholomew performs at the landmark dedication at J&M Studios at New Orleans.

The Crescent City is coming to Cleveland and we are welcoming her with open arms! In a few weeks a remarkable group of nearly 40 New Orleans musicians, tradition bearers bringing 70+ years of incredible music, will help us honor Fats Domino and his longtime collaborator Dave Bartholomew as American Music Masters.

I fell in love with New Orleans through the LP recordings of Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Huey Piano Smith, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas—and one very well worn truckstop cassette compilation tape that featured “Carnival Time,” “Mardi Gras Mambo,””Iko Iko,” “Walking to New Orleans” and a handful of other songs.  This blossomed when as a twenty-something I traveled there with Robert Gordon—not the singer but the Memphis-born music scholar and filmmaker—the perfect tour guide to what was clearly his second city.  The trip started in Philadelphia when we climbed into a massive 1969 Cadillac Sedan Deville—and headed south. Somewhere in Virginia we realized that if we shut the car off it would not restart, so we kept it running all the way to Atlanta, added a passenger and continued directly to New Orleans.

As if on cue we picked up WWOZ as we blew ...


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Now this is the way to start a new year!

Thursday, January 6: 3:24 p.m.
Fats Domino with his 2010 American Music Masters Award.

My favorite Christmas present arrived by email: a photo of a smiling Antoine “Fats” Domino in his home in Louisiana, holding his 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame American Music Masters Award. Domino’s daughter sent it to us in December. We wish Fats could have made it to Cleveland in November, but we all stayed in touch over the week with photos and streaming video and text messages, so it felt like Fats and his family were close by. This year’s program honoring Fats and Dave Bartholomew was a great success—it brought together all the Museum’s resources: exhibits, classes for students and adults, distance learning classes to New Orleans, interviews, a conference, and a course the great tribute concert—topped off with the Rebirth Brass Band playing in the lobby of the Palace Theater. We just couldn’t say good night too soon! You can see photos from the week and some videos from the conference here.

The New Orleans music magazine Off Beat will be honoring Dave Bartholomew with a Lifetime Achievement Award later this month, and they just published a great story on Dave and American Music Masters, written by Domino’s biographer ...


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These Women Rock

Monday, May 23: 4:56 p.m.
Inductees Darlene Love and Wanda Jackson plus Cyndi Lauper attend the Women Who Rock opening.

This past week the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its new exhibit devoted to telling the story of some of rock and roll’s most iconic artists to rave reviews. The Wall Street Journal called Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power “thoroughly entertaining” and the Huffington Post said “It’s a must-see.” Here’s a look back at opening night from Meredith Rutledge, who lead the exhibit’s curation.

The opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s new Women Who Rock was a grand series of “wow” moments that are difficult to put into words. The first happened when Darlene Love looked at her section in the new inductee exhibit and then her display in the Women Who Rock exhibit.  If that wasn’t a big enough thrill, I was lucky enough to witness Darlene, Cyndi Lauper and Wanda Jackson all meeting for the first time. The three legends hugged and traded compliments with laughter and tears. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, inductee Ronnie Spector made a surprise appearance on the main stage, grabbing the microphone. I thought my head was going to explode when I saw Darlene step over ...


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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Only Better

Friday, June 24: 3:10 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

Last fall, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum began undertaking the first major re-design of its galleries since the Museum opened back in 1995. We’ve just finished the first phase of the project, and I have to say it looks incredible!

We had a couple of major goals for the project. One was to upgrade all of our audio, video and interactive installations. The other was to tell the story of rock and roll in a more chronological way. We’ve always had the complete history of rock and roll, from its roots in the blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, country, folk and bluegrass up to the present, but it was not presented in any particular order. Well, we’ve changed that. In the Ahmet Ertegun Gallery, for example, we’ve kept the Mystery Train theater, which contains a film about the roots of rock and roll up to Elvis. But we got rid of the second theater, which had a film about the Beatles up to some more contemporary artists. In its place, we’ve created a new exhibit about our Early Influence inductees and a whole new roots of rock section. The area features beautiful ...


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Smokey Robinson on songwriting and the women of Motown

Thursday, July 21: 1:35 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

No single figure has been more closely aligned with Motown than indcutee Smokey Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, he served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Berry Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man. On Saturday, June 18, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed Robinson for a special live interview as part of the Museum's Hall of Fame Series. Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs at the Rock Hall, interviewed Robinson - watch below for highlights from the event.

WATCH: Smokey Robinson discusses the art of songwriting


WATCH: Smokey Robinson talks about the women of Motown


WATCH: Smokey Robinson offers songwriting advice to aspiring musicians


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