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Rock's Greatest Guitar Players :: Blog

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

Queen Live at Live Aid 1985

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

Live Aid was arguably the greatest live concert ever staged. A less-argued point is that Queen’s performance at Live Aid stole the show. Freddie Mercury’s commanding stage presence and the band’s impeccable musicianship blew away stadium audiences in London and Philadelphia and the global television audience of two billion. But even the superstars performing that day, from Elton John to the Who, acknowledged that Queen’s performance dominated Live Aid.

Queen at Live Aid in 1985 setlistThe 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, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Nirvana Live at 1992 Reading Festival

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

Rumors swirled around the 1992 Reading Festival that Kurt Cobain’s reported ill-health would force Nirvana to bail on their headlining gig. Cobain, clad in a hospital gown and ridiculous wig, was pushed onto the stage in a wheelchair and faked a dramatic swoon before leading the band through a blistering, brilliant set. Reading 1992 sealed Nirvana’s legacy as the most important new band of the decade.

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 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, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exhibit, Rare Performances

U2 Live at Live Aid 1985

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

Like many breakout festival performances, U2 at Live Aid was as much a filmed event as a live event. During “Bad,” Bono climbed out into the crowd and wrapped his arms around a female fan, creating a sense of intimacy in a massive audience, both in the stadium and those watching around the world.  It cemented U2’s image as a band that could make the big dramatic stadium gesture that feels personal. 

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 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, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, 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

Phish with Bruce Springsteen Live at 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

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

The sheer diversity of talent at the Bonnaroo festivals created unique opportunities for one-time parings. Phish, no strangers to the festival scene, understood these opportunities better than anyone. They invited Bruce Springsteen, who had headlined the night before, to join them, unannounced, for several songs. The bridging of musical styles and generations was the perfect embodiment of the Bonnaroo vibe.

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 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, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

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

In the Museum: The Who's Roger Daltrey

Saturday, March 1: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Who's Roger Daltrey celebrates his 70th birthday on March 1, 2014

Born on March 1, 1944, Roger Daltrey injected the Who's songs with expressive muscularity and passion. Daltrey made a natural rock and roll frontman, theatrically swinging the microphone and proving the ideal, angst-projecting foil to Who songwriter/guitarist Pete Townshend's "windmill" strumming and instrument destroying antics and drummer Keith Moon's  explosive – sometimes literally – playing. With rock-steady bass virtuoso John Entwistle, the four evolved from purveyors of Mod-era "maximum R&B" to visionary, literary creators of concept album narratives and singular rock opera productions. Simply put: the Who created some of rock and roll's most enduring and powerful anthems. 

In mid-1965, Daltrey and the Who were unflagging devotees of R&B, though their reverence ultimately started to stifle creativity. Hoping to shake things up on the compositional front, manager Kit Lambert demanded a new anthem to go with the image they didn't have yet. Pete Townshend responded with a primitive home demo of "My Generation." Arranged as a talking blues number, it didn't sound much like his generation. With a terse order to make it beefier, Townshend returned with a version deemed chunky enough to warrant a group whack at a demo session, which Lambert ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll
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