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Rock's Greatest Guitar Players :: Blog

New Jimi Hendrix Goes Worldwide (and to Cleveland)

Friday, March 7: 3:04 p.m.
Posted by Alexandra Fagan

After shaking the nation with his performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969, rock legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Jimi Hendrix, will now be honored by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Hendrix is joining Lydia Mendoza, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles in the USPS' music icon stamp series on Thursday, March 13, 2014. 

The debut of the stamp will be at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference at Butler Park in Austin, Texas, featuring a special all-star unveiling concert. This Jimi Hendrix celebration will include performances by Hall of Fame Inductees Slash and Robby Krieger of the Doors, as well as the MC5’s Wayne Kramer and Paul McCartney’s longtime guitarist Rusty Anderson, Dave and Phil Alvin of the Blasters and others.

In what's shaping up to be a big year for Hendrix fans, the stamp announcement comes alongside new Jimi Hendrix presence at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. The Museum recently acquired a handful of new Jimi Hendrix artifacts to add to its already abundant Jimi Hendrix exhibit, including various outfits, shirts and his purple “applejack” style suede cap. One of the outfits ...


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Muddy Waters Live at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival

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

With rare exception, blues and blues musicians entertained exclusively black audiences in the 50s. George Wein, the founder of the Newport Jazz and Folk festivals, gave Muddy Waters a platform to reveal the majesty and power of the blues to an entirely new audience. The record album of this show became essential listening to a new generation. Music was never the same again.

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


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Fire and Rain"

Wednesday, March 12: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" is one of the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll

James Taylor's 1970 hit single, and the album that spawned it, Sweet Baby James, helped launch the singer/songwriter boom of the early 70s. "Fire And Rain" reflected the movement's best qualities: limpid acoustic guitars, soulful double bass and Carole King's rippling piano are the backdrop for a sorrowful lament for a "lost" friend. More folk than rock, the song nevertheless boasts a deceptively tough edge, thanks to Russ Kunkel's popping drums and Taylor's in-your-face misery. The singer/songwriter era was often criticized as a self-indulgent, whiny time, but the best efforts, such as "Fire And Rain," could be as compelling as the blues.  Though just 22 when he achieved fame, Taylor already had many reasons to sing the blues.

Watch James Taylor perform "Love the One You're With" with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills live at the 25th Anniversary Concerts!

The offspring of an affluent family with roots in both Boston and North Carolina, he'd been in and out of mental institutions and struggled with hard drugs. His first serious foray into music came with friend Danny Kortchmar in the group Flying Machine, mentioned in "Fire And Rain." His self-titled ...


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Eric Clapton's Six-String Stories Now on View at Rock Hall Library and Archives

Monday, March 31: 1:45 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Eric Clapton / photo by Brad LeMee for Genesis Publications' "Six-string Stories"

In honor of the 69th birthday of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Clapton, the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives is pleased to feature Clapton’s beautiful new limited edition book Six-String Stories: The Crossroads Guitars in its main reading room.

“One by one these guitars were the chapters of my life,” says Clapton about the book. Personally signed by Clapton himself, the 376-page volume documents his entire career through the tools of his trade: his guitars. Six-String Stories is told through Clapton's own words, with background information for each instrument and archival photography spanning five decades.

Eric Clapton autograph Genesis Publications book“As an avid rock or blues fan I would look at all the pictures in this book,” says Clapton. Nearly 300 pieces from Clapton's collection, sold across three Crossroads auctions, are brought together here for the very first time. Six-String Stories presents a “family tree,” making connections between Clapton's instruments and amps, and placing them in the chronology of his career.

“These guitars have been really good tools,” says Clapton. “They're not just museum pieces. They all have a soul, and they all come alive.” Every piece has been photographed, showing the beauty of the design ...


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2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Nirvana Songs

Wednesday, April 9: 8 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

It only takes one song to start a rock revolution. That trigger, in late 1991, was “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” an exhilarating blast of punk-rock confrontation by Nirvana, a scruffy trio from Seattle. “Teen Spirit,” its moshpit-party video and Nirvana’s kinetic live shows propelled their second album, Nevermind, to Number One and turned singer-guitarist-songwriter Kurt Cobain into the voice and conscience of an alternative-rock nation sick of hair metal and the conservative grip of the Reagan-Bush ‘80s. Founded by Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in the logging town of Aberdeen, Washington, Nirvana were underground stars when they made 1989’s Bleach with drummer Chad Channing. Moving from the indie Sub Pop label to Geffen, the band – with drummer Dave Grohl – packed Cobain’s corrosive riffs, emotionally acute writing and twin passions for the Beatles and post-punk bands like the Melvins and the Pixies into Nevermind. A multi-platinum seller, it included the hits “Come As You Are” and “Lithium” and opened the mainstream gates for Green Day, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. In 1993, Nirvana released the caustic masterpiece, In Utero, and gave a historic performance on MTV’s Unplugged. But in April 1994, Cobain – suffering from drug addiction and ...


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Bob Dylan Changes Face of Popular Music for $100

Monday, April 21: 5:06 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

With a hastily assembled band, Bob Dylan changed the course of popular music in three songs on Sunday, July 25, 1965. The folk bard and 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee turned the Newport Folk Festival on its ear, plugging in and delivering amplified versions of "Maggie's Farm," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" – much to the chagrin of many in attendance.

Dylan's electrified Newport set in 1965 was a marked departure from his '63 show, where he played acoustic versions of "Blowin' in the Wind;" and '64 performances at the same festival, where he played acoustic versions of  "With God on Our Side" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."

"Ladies and gentlemen, the person that's going to come up now has a limited amount of time ... His name is Bob Dylan," festival emcee Peter Yarrow announced. Taking the stage with a full band that included guitarist Mike Bloomfield and organist Al Kooper – both of whom had played on the recording of Dylan's recently released single "Like A Rolling Stone" – Dylan and company launched into a rollicking version of "Maggie's Farm," earning a barrage ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Whole Lotta Love"

Wednesday, May 7: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
"Led Zeppelin II" gets re-release with new versions of "Whole Lotta Love" and more.

This week, it was announced that Hall of Fame Inductees Led Zeppelin would be reissuing their first three albums with a series of box sets featuring previously unheard mixes, live versions and one unreleased track. In advance of Led Zeppelin II's re-release, the group shared a radio edit of a rough mix of the classic cut "Whole Lotta Love" that sounds quite different than the famous radio-staple studio version, most notably Jimmy Page's guitar parts and Robert Plant's vocals. It's a mix as intriguing to listeners as the song's controversial – sometimes litigious – history.

Experience the world's greatest music festivals past, present and future at the Rock Hall in Cleveland!

Plant remembers the first time he noted similarities between a Zep-credited composition and an obscure but not that obscure blues. JPage's response was "shut up and keep walking."  Led Zeppelin almost got away with "Whole Lotta Love." The crunching riff and relentless thud that opens Led Zeppelin II could be attributed to few other bands in 1969. But as the lyrics unfolded, certain listeners got a dose of deja vu. "Whole Lotta Love" distinctly recalled the Small Faces' number "You Need Loving." Had the ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Folk-rock findings at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives

Tuesday, June 3: 5 p.m.

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives about my books on 1960s folk-rock. Most of it was centered around rare film clips, but I was also asked to talk a bit about the research I’ve done at the library over the past two weeks (thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation). This is for the expanded ebook edition of my two-volume work on 1960s folk-rock, Turn! Turn! Turn! (published as a print edition in 2002) and Eight Miles High (published as a print edition in 2003), which I’m combining into a single ebook, Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s.

It would take many hours and many pages to cover all of the material I’ve discovered at the library. So I used just a few images to illustrate how rare items could shed some light on folk-rock’s history, even after having written about it for 600 pages in the print editions. All of these are taken from ads that appeared between 1965 and 1967 in Cash Box, the biggest music trade magazine besides Billboard, but (unlike Billboard) very hard to find copies of these ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Bob Dylan, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Library and Archives
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