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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Fever"

Wednesday, September 17: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, revered Little Willie John, having opened shows for John early on and later recorded an entire album of his tunes, the 1968 tribute Thinking About Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things. Brown was just but one of many artists of the day who were influenced by John's gospel-charged R&B sound. The likes of Hall of Fame Inductees Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Al Green all noted a musical debt to the man behind "Fever," and hits including "Sleep," "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" and "Leave My Kitten Alone" – the latter an early Beatles fave.

Spending his formative years raised in Detroit, Michigan, Little Willie John's stature belied his powerful voice. Signed to Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records in 1955, John cut the haunting, sultry "Fever" in 1956 at the tender age of 18. His smooth style presaged soul music. His delivery was passionate and dramatic, which paired with his melding of styles proved the perfect foil to such evocative lyricism.


Sadly, this polished, passionate artist suffered a sad fate: convicted of manslaughter in a post-gig fracas and sentenced to prison in 1966, he died under disputed circumstances ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

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

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

Staples of American Music: Mavis Staples and "I'll Take You There"

Tuesday, April 29: 1 p.m.
Posted by Greg Kot
Author Greg Kot will present and do a short reading from his most recent book, I’ll Take You There.

The song was there amid the highs and lows of the top 40, tucked among "Kung Fu Fighting," "Me and Mrs. Jones," "Maggie May," and countless other 70s one-offs, novelties and classics. The Staple Singers’ "I’ll Take You There" was in the air, like oxygen. Years after I first heard it in my parents’ kitchen on a transistor radio, it always seemed to be part of my life – I would find myself humming the bass line while waiting for an elevator or muttering "Ain’t no smiling faces" as I walked down a downtown Chicago street at rush hour. A few decades later, after hearing the song dozens if not hundreds of times, it dawned on me: There are only about five lines of verse in the entire song, spanning more than 4 minutes. The rest is just a magic act between the band (the Muscle Shoals rhythm section) and Mavis Staples, backed by her family.

In interviewing the people in the studio when "I’ll Take You There" was recorded, they all still sound in awe of what happened that day.

"The ‘I’ll Take You There’ session rates as high as any we ever did," guitarist Jimmie ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Event, Rolling Stones, Hall of Fame, Library and Archives

The Top 10 Concert Festival Moments in Rock and Roll History

Wednesday, April 23: 6 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

In March 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum invited fans around the globe to vote for the greatest festival moments in the history of rock and roll. Thousands of votes were cast, and when the results were tallied, a Top 10 emerged. Here are those amazing festival moments, from Newport Folk to Woodstock, Monterey Pop to Lollapalooza; from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters to Nine Inch Nails.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, opens a new feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience, on April 25, 2014.


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

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Daryl Hall & John Oates Songs

Wednesday, April 9: 8:45 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Daryl Hall and John Oates created an original mix of soul and rock that made them the most successful pop duo in history. As songwriters, singers and producers, they embraced the pop mainstream, bringing passion and creativity back to the 3-minute single. Over the course of their career, they have recorded six Number One hits and put 34 songs in the Billboard Top 100.

Deeply rooted in lush Philly soul, Hall and Oates mixed smooth vocal harmonies and the romantic vulnerability of soul with edgy hard rock and new wave riffs to create some of the finest pop music of the 1980s. They teamed up in the early 1970s in Philadelphia, and landed a deal with Atlantic. On their first three albums, they searched for the right style for their talents as they experimented with soul, folk and hard rock.

After their subsequent string of hits in the 1970s, including "She's Gone"and "Rich Girl", they were energized by new wave and dance music. The result was an incredible run of original songs that topped the pop and R&B charts throughout the 1980s. Combining the best of both rock and R&B, Hall and Oates set the stage ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Big Brother and the Holding Company at 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival

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

Big Brother and the Holding Company’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival was so powerful, the festival organizers hastily provided a second performing slot for the band to ensure it was captured by D.A. Pennebaker’s film crew. Janis Joplin’s performance of “Ball and Chain” was a small part of the energy and power of that performance but it was a major part of helping them to get signed to Columbia Records later that year. Crowd shots in the film show established artists such as  staring in jaw-dropping wonder as Joplin delivered a blues-soaked performance.  

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 Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances
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