The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


History of the Blues :: Blog

The Roots and Definition of Rock and Roll

Friday, October 18: 11:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Tracing the roots of and defining rock and roll music at the Museum.

How do you define rock and roll?

Each year, with the announcement of the next class of nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a debate swirls as to what music is considered "rock and roll." The announcement of the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees – the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Kiss, LL Cool J, the Meters, Nirvana, N.W.A., the Replacements, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies – brought with it passionate discussions as to not only who should be inducted, but also how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and people all over the world interpret and define rock and roll. 

Visitors to the Museum in Cleveland will find a large type-and-graphics treatment featured in the Main Exhibit Hall, just before the Roots of Rock exhibit. It marks the unofficial start to a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and explains the roots of rock and roll, and how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognizes rock and roll today. It reads as follows:

Rock and roll is a form of ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exhibit

Steve Jordan and Bobby Keys Talk about History with the Rolling Stones

Friday, October 25: 5:01 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

On October 26, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, musician and producer Steve Jordan lead an all-star band during a tribute concert honoring the music of the Rolling Stones. The event is part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's 18th Annual Music Masters series. Also in the band are Hall of Fame Inductees Chuck D. of Public Enemy and Ian McLagan of the Small Faces/Faces, as well as Sugar Blue, Merry Clayton, Sarah Dash, Lee Fields, Bernard Fowler, Patterson Hood, Cyril Jordan, Bobby Keys, Trevor Lawrence, Nils Lofgren, Steve Madaio, Dave Pirner, Earl Slick, Waddy Wachtel, Willie Weeks and Chris Wilson. 

In this interview, Steve Jordan and saxophonist Bobby Keys talk about putting together the Rolling Stones tribute concert, what it's like recording and performing with the Rolling Stones, favorite Rolling Stones' songs and more.


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Event, Rolling Stones, American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews

Celebrating the Songs and Life of Doc Pomus with Director William Hechter

Monday, January 13: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Doc Pomus singing in the late 1940s

Remembered not only as a peerless songwriter but also as a formidable personality and cheerful raconteur, 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Doc Pomus was one of the real characters from rock and roll’s golden era. Atlantic Records producer and co-owner Jerry Wexler succinctly described his sphere of influence: "If the music industry has a heart, it would be Doc Pomus." 

Pomus authored among the greatest songs in rock and roll history: "This Magic Moment" (recorded by the Drifters), "A Teenager in Love" (recorded by Dion and the Belmonts) and "Save the Last Dance for Me" (recorded by Ben E. King). Elvis Presley recorded at least 20 Pomus originals. In Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's collection includes the hand-written lyrics to "Save the Last Dance for Me," which Pomus wrote at his wedding, while watching his new bride, Wilma Burke, dancing (pictured below).

Born Jerome Solon Felder in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on June 27, 1925, he adopted the name Doc Pomus to hide his singing from his parents. Stricken with polio as a child, Pomus was confined to crutches and a wheelchair, though it never slowed him down. For ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Event, Exclusive Interviews, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Education, Foster Theatre

How James Brown Saved Boston in 1968

Friday, January 17: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
James Brown in 1968

In a decade marred by tumult, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr had emerged as the charismatic voice of the civil rights movement, advancing the cause with a resonant message of nonviolence and peaceful civil disobedience. He was the loudspeaker for thousands crying out, the channel through which the civil rights movement found unity. With King's assassination on April 4, 1968, the world lost among its most fearless leaders.

News of King's assassination sent shockwaves across the country and people took to the streets in frustration. As day broke in Boston on Friday, April 5, government officials nervously anticipated another night of unrest, yet an unlikely keeper of the peace came forward and helped unite a community: James Brown

Variously dubbed "the Godfather of Soul," "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business" and "Mr. Dynamite" among other monikers, Brown had been scheduled to perform in the city's center, at the Boston Garden. Amid great civil strife, Mayor Kevin White faced a quandary: aggravate a tense situation by canceling the event for overtly racial fears or dismiss concerns expressed by law enforcement. His decision came ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Event, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Education

Etta James Sings "At Last" and Hits the Charts

Friday, January 24: 8 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Etta James

At the end of the 1960s, traditional R&B was moving in different directions: toward Motown and its pop-ready "Sound of Young America," and the grittier Southern soul of Stax/Volt and Fame Recording Studio. Etta James sided with the latter. Born January 25, 1938, as Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, California, she had moved from a gospel choir to a girl trio to the Johnny Otis Revue by the time she had her first R&B hit at 17. “I might have been a little church girl singing gospel, but I loved all the music – soaked it up like a sponge," said James. "I remember Charles Brown, who killed me with 'Drifting Blues.' I’d hear that good time music floating out onto the street, whether it was some smooth blues like T-Bone Walker or sophisticated jazz….[I’d] poke my head into a joint, amazed by the men in their stingy-brim hats and them gators on their feet, chicks poured into skintight dresses, laughing and flirting and carrying on.” 

In the spring of 1961, “At Last” became a Number Two R&B hit and remains ...


continue Categories: Black History Month, Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Hall of Fame, Today in Rock, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Otis Redding Live at 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival

Tuesday, March 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Backed by fellow Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductees Booker T. & the MG’s, Otis Redding put on a devastating set of soul music, some of the finest of its day. Redding was riding a wave of success at the time, but he was known primarily to African-American audiences. Monterey put him in front of the largest white audience of his career to date, and the crowd went crazy. Redding died just six months later, and the performance we have now captured on the Monterey Pop film is one of the high water marks of his career. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of the Blues, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Isaac Hayes Live at Wattstax 1972

Tuesday, March 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Wattstax was organized by Memphis-based Stax Records as a way to recognize the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots. Isaac Hayes' set began with him being driven to the stage in a gold station wagon as the emcee, Jessie Jackson, hyped the crowd. The band played the “Theme from Shaft” as Hayes walked on stage in a hood and cloak. Hayes threw the cloak off revealing his bare chest covered in a vest of gold chains. And that’s all before he sang a single note! The performance that followed was perfect hot buttered soul.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of the Blues, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Santana Live at 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair

Tuesday, March 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Santana took the stage at Woodstock by storm. Barely known outside of San Francisco, the group lit up the afternoon on the festival’s second day with a hypnotic and grooving performance of Latin-tinged blues and soul. That single performance introduced a new sound to rock music and established a career that continues to inspire. 

Santana live at Woodstock 1969The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.

Get more of the story at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives!


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances
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