The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


Beatles :: Blog

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Imagine"

Tuesday, October 9: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
John Lennon's "Imagine" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

"Imagine" became one of the enduring anthems of John Lennon's post-Beatles work. In an interview days before his death, he made a case for the brotherhood of man and woman: "That should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it – the lyric and the concept –came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit, her book; there's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and imagine that, and I have given her credit now long overdue." Ono downplayed her involvement, claiming the period was ripe for mutual inspiration. Lennon responded, "Yeah, but if it had been Bowie, I would have put 'Lennon/Bowie' if it had been a male, you know... but when we did it, I just put 'Lennon' because, you know, she's just the wife and, you know, you don't put her name on, right?" Co-produced by Lennon, Ono and Phil Spector, "Imagine" was recorded in July 1971 at John's home studio in Tittenhurst Park. It reached Number Three on Billboard's Hot ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll vs. Censorship

Thursday, August 23: 9 a.m.
The original version of the Beatles' Yesterday and Today was withdrawn from stores in 1966

Given the recent fervor over Russian feminist punk rock collective Pussy Riot's arrest and subsequent sentencing and incarceration after staging a performance art protest in a Russian Orthodox cathedral, the Rock Hall started thinking about how censorship has always been a hot button issue in rock and roll. What’s happening in Russia now is not terribly far removed from repressive reactions to the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s, and reactions to various other manifestations of the artform throughout its history.

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich said this in her closing statement at the group’s trial: “On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.”

The National Coalition Against Censorship (with thanks to Eric Nuzum) notes these milestones in the infamous history of music censorship. Many of these milestones are covered in the Museum’s Don’t Knock the Rock exhibit, a video-driven exhibit about the protests against rock and roll ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit

Jane Scott Collection Arrives at the Rock Hall Library and Archives

Thursday, August 9: 5 p.m.
Posted by Jennie Thomas
Beginning to sort the Jane Scott papers at the Rock Hall Library and Archives

Recently, the Library and Archives acquired the collection of Cleveland’s own Jane Scott, which includes items accumulated over the course of Scott’s long career as the first rock critic at a daily newspaper: interview notebooks, autographs, personal and promotional photographs, handbills, tour books, concert programs, sheet music, scrapbooks, posters, set lists, press passes, buttons, books, magazines, newspapers, fanzines, LPs, 45s, audiocassettes, CDs, videocassettes, DVDs, correspondence, artist press kits and newspaper clippings.

Packing up all the materials from her apartment and moving them to the Library and Archives took nearly five hours, with the guidance of Scott’s estate attorney and myself, and the assistance of four professionals from local Wood-Lee International Art Handler. The estate attorney had much of the material sorted by type of material in advance of our visit, which made the entire enterprise go more smoothly.

Often when archivists are asked to do this type of work, there are few bodies to assist and even less organization, so it was refreshing to come into this environment where not only had some level of organization been accomplished for us — filing cabinets emptied into cartons and a closet full of clippings and other documents sorted and ...


continue Categories: Library and Archives

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Mr. Tambourine Man"

Wednesday, June 20: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Folk rock didn't necessarily begin here. Four months before the Byrds recorded "Mr. Tambourine Man," the Animals were topping the pop charts with "The House of the Rising Sun." But this combination of song and performance epitomized the genre, with the happy effect of giving Bob Dylan – as songwriter, at least – a Number One hit, peaking on Billboard's Hot 100 on the week of June 26, 1965. The Byrds' debut gave them a powerful lift-off. The only Byrd playing on it, though, was electric 12-string guitarist Jim (later Roger) McGuinn. Producer Terry Melcher, doubtful of the new band's abilities, hired top session musicians (including Leon Russell) to back up the vocals of McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark. Perhaps Melcher had heard the group's originally private 1964 recording of the tune, which sounds like an arrangement for a music box. The Byrds recorded and released "Mr. Tambourine Man" neck and neck with Dylan's own (album-only) acoustic version. "We didn't really like [the song] or even understand it at the time," bassist Chris Hillman later admitted; their manager had pushed it on them. Drenched in the 12-string jangle of McGuinn's Rickenbacker guitar and ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Curating the Beatles

Monday, June 11: 1 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
The Beatles at Shea Stadium on August 23, 1966 original concert poster

the Beatles exhibit at the rock and roll hall of fame and museum in ClevelandThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is very fortunate to have what is most likely the finest, most extensive Beatles exhibit anywhere in the world. That exhibit is the result of relationships we have built over the years. I have been the chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland since 1994, before the Museum opened, and one of the first people I contacted when I got the job was Yoko Ono.

Prior to joining the Museum, I was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine, where I had interviewed Yoko. In addition, Jann Wenner, the editor and publisher of Rolling Stone and one of the founders of the Hall of Fame, was friends with Yoko and John Lennon. Having made those connections, I first arranged to meet Yoko at her apartment at the Dakota in New York City in 1994. Much to my surprise, she had an enormous amount of material related to her late husband John, going back to things like his school report cards and a swimming certificate. She also had many of his handwritten lyric manuscripts, guitars, clothing and other personal effects. Yoko agreed to ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Event

Today in Rock: John Lennon is Born

Friday, October 7: 3:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
John Lennon (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)

As the most daring and outspoken of the four Beatles, John Lennon helped shape the agenda of the Sixties - socially and politically, no less than musically. As a solo artist, he made music that alternately disturbed and soothed, provoked and sought community. As a human being, he served as an exemplar of honesty in his art and life. Lennon didn’t invent rock and roll, nor did he embody it as toweringly as figures like Elvis Presley and Little Richard, but he did more than anyone else to shake it up, move it forward and instill it with a conscience. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

As Jann Wenner wrote in the foreword to a collection of writings entitled The Ballad of John and Yoko, “Of the many things that will be long remembered about John Lennon - his genius as a musician and singer, his wit and literary swiftness, his social intuition and leadership - among the most haunting was the stark, unembarrassed commitment of his life, his work and his undernourished frame to truth, to peace and to humanity.”

Born on October 9, 1940, during the Nazi bombing of Britain, Lennon was given ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit
previous Page 2 of 2.