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Headbanger's Anthem: AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Monday, August 4: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

AC/DC Highway to Hell Album Cover Art 1979 original

A guitarist in schoolboy knickers, a singer who must have gargled with glass shards, and a penchant for tales of non-stop debauchery made AC/DC the late 70s archetypal heavy metal band. Brothers Angus and Malcolm Young generated bulldozing guitar, with their early records produced by third sibling, George (former member of popsters the Easybeats, who had a hit in 1966 with "Friday on my Mind").

Released in the first week of August 1979, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell was a major turning point for the group. Though the group's fifth album, it was the band’s first collaboration with producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, who brought a keen focus to AC/DC’s energetic sound.

With the album's release, AC/DC crept into the U.S. mainstream on the strength of "Highway to Hell," the thunderous opening to the album of the same name. The song didn't endear them to religious right-wingers, who posited that AC/DC's name was shorthand for "anti Christ/Devil's children."  Nor did it help when California's "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez, expressed his admiration for the group.

WATCH: AC/DC Perform "Highway to Hell" live at the ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Festival Six Pack: Performers at 2014 Bonnaroo and In Rock Hall

Monday, June 16: 12:02 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

This summer as rock and roll fans gather at musical festivals around the globe, the Rock Hall is celebrating the the greatest music festivals in history, the biggest and baddest music festivals of today and the fans who make Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.

From June 12-15, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival takes over Manchester, Tennessee, with a host of performances from some of the biggest names in music. Among the headlining acts and performers at Bonnaroo this year are a number of artists who also feature in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, in Cleveland, Ohio, including four Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees.


Mickey Hart:

Percussionist Mickey Hart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 with his bandmates in the Grateful Dead. When Hart visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2012, he shared stories about the first time he ever saw the Grateful Dead live and the San Francisco scene in the 60s. Pictured below is his illuminated signature in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.




Bobby Womack:

Bobby Womack was born in Cleveland, where he and his ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, The Grateful Dead, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." 30th Anniversary

Wednesday, June 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." turns 30

Released in June 1984, Born in the U.S.A. remains among the best-selling albums in rock and roll history, with seven Top 10 hits that sent 1999 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Springsteen's rock stardom into the stratosphere. Its narrative tone had much in common with 1982's stark, somber and critically lauded Nebraska, with many of the songs that comprised Born in the U.S.A. beginning life in the same sessions that produced that album. The root influences of blues, American folk songs and the new cinematic style of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick brought a darker and more introspective view to the characters. “I’m on Fire,” for example, was a song of desire, compulsion and personal struggle that became a Top 10 hit in 1985, despite its intense subject matter.

However, Born in the U.S.A. also traded in more nostalgic storytelling and tongue-in-cheek humor on tracks like "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark" – all of which proved especially resonant with audiences around the country. Thanks in no small part to 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the E Street Band, the arrangements were ...


continue Categories: History of Rock and Roll, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock

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

Interview with Alan Parsons: The Beatles Final Live Performance, Abbey Road and Rock History

Wednesday, May 21: 11:34 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Alan Parsons donates stage outfits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Audio engineer, record producer, composer and musician Alan Parsons visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a tour stop that's taken him coast to coast in the United States. During his visit, Parsons donated two stage jackets to the Rock Hall's collection, and shared firsthand accounts of his remarkable career: from landing a job at Abbey Road at age 19, to working on the Beatles rooftop performance at Apple Studios in 1969; from his work on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon to his role in some of the Hollies' greatest hits; to his own music with the Alan Parsons Project and as a solo artist.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: You got a job at the fabled Abbey Road when you were quite young…
Alan Parsons: I already had a job with EMI, which is the part company of Abbey Road Studios, and I worked in a sort of associated department, which was called 'tape records.' We were making reel-to-reel quarter-inch albums on tape back then… actually making Beatles albums on quarter-inch tape. And, there was a link from that department to Abbey Road. I wrote to ...


continue Categories: The Beatles, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews

Banned, "Dirty Water" and Punk: Interview with the Standells

Thursday, May 15: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Standells' "Dirty Water" banned in Boston.

With songs like "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "Why Pick on Me" and "Riot on the Sunset Strip," the Standells brand of cranked-up garage rock in the 60s earned them a reputation as among the godfathers of punk rock. The fact their music has been covered by the likes of Aerosmith, Minor Threat, Bruce Springsteen and U2 – not too mention a litany of punk acts emerging in 1977 – illustrates that their knack for punchy hooks has engendered them to musicians and fans alike.

With an instantly recognizable-and easy to play-guitar intro, "Dirty Water" became a garage band staple in 1966. Onetime Four Preps member Ed Cobb wrote the song, but the Los Angeles–based Standells version recorded in a  garage studio in southern California turned it into a growling classic. Once squeaky-clean, the Standells went proto-punk in a bid to glom onto the bad-boy image of British groups like the Rolling Stones and the Animals. Drummer/vocalist Dick Dodd (a former Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer) sneered his way through this tale of unrequited lust and of vitriol aimed at Boston. That city retaliated by banning "Dirty Water," which didn't hurt sales. The canny Standells went on to ...


continue Categories: History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Rolling Stones, Exclusive Interviews

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

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Peter Gabriel Songs

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

Peter Gabriel’s influence is so widespread we may take it for granted. When the rest of rock was simplifying in the new wave days, the former Genesis frontman blended synthesizers and a signature gated drum sound with an emotional honesty learned from soul music to create a sensibility that would influence artists from U2 to Arcade Fire to Depeche Mode. With extraordinary ambition, Gabriel transitioned from cult artist to multimedia pop star to global rock icon. His WOMAD festival has been a 33-year laboratory for musical cross-pollination. His brilliant stage shows inspired U2’s and Flaming Lips’ and expanded the visual vocabulary of music videos with clips such as “Sledgehammer,” “Shock The Monkey” and “Big Time.” In addition, he wrote songs like “Don’t Give Up,” “Red Rain” and “In Your Eyes” that put heart and soul on the radio at a time when those values were in short supply. Four decades on as a solo artist, Gabriel continues to push the boundaries of popular music and challenge audiences across the globe.

Here are 5 essential Peter Gabriel songs:

"Solsbury Hill" (1977)

"Solsbury Hill" captured the emotions of Peter Garbiel's departure from Genesis. As tension built during Genesis ...


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