After a singing career that spanned more than five decades, soul-blues vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby "Blue" Bland passed away on June 23, 2013, in his home state of Tennessee. He was 83. Bland was one of soul music's greatest singers. His vocals were grainy, but, at the same time, warm and intimate. He played a major role in transforming the blues and gospel into a sound that became soul music.
"To me, there is no better singer that sings any kind of song than Bobby Bland," said B.B. King during his induction of Bland at the 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. "Bobby Bland is one of a kind." As a young man, Bland served as a chauffeur for King and Roscoe Gordon, and as a valet for Junior Parker. He eventually became part of a loose-knit group called the Beale Streeters – so named for the Memphis street where they congregated – which included King, Gordon, Parker, Johnny Ace, Billy Duncan and Earl Forrest.
In the latter half of the Fifties, after returning to Memphis following military duty, Bland matured into a masterful singer and assured entertainer. His hallmark was ...
The six founding members of War – the late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller, survivors Harold Brown, B.B. Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and Howard Scott – were gigging around L.A. for nearly a decade before hooking up with Eric Burdon (ex-Animals) and Danish harmonica player Lee Oskar in 1969. Burdon and producer Jerry Goldstein named them War, and they backed it up with a steamy Afro-Latin R&B groove that rocked their debut hit “Spill The Wine.” Less than two years later, Burdon dropped out and War went their own way in 1971. A long string of Top 10 pop/R&B crossover hits established War’s status through the Seventies, always with a social message grounded by their distinctively breezy Southern California vibe. In this interview with War founding member Lonnie Jordan, he shares his first memories of playing, how War first connected with Eric Burdon and jamming with Jimi Hendrix during what would be his last public performance.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: How did you first become interested in playing music?
Lonnie Jordan: As a kid, I used to watch old black-and-white movies. Now keep in mind I'll be 65 this year, so when ...
The consistency with which John Mayer combines word craft and melody has earned him rarefied status as a respected songwriter and musician. As one of few musicians to achieve both critical acclaim and popular appeal, the seven-time Grammy Award winner has earned accolades for each album release while selling more than 17 million albums worldwide.
Known as a musician who defies genre boundaries, Mayer is well known for collaborations with a range of artists. From rock to blues, hip-hop to jazz to country, Mayer has performed and/or recorded with Hall of Fame inductees Eric Clapton, BB King and Buddy Guy, as well as T-Bone Burnett, Herbie Hancock, Dixie Chicks, Jay Z and Alicia Keys.
On April 18, 2013, John Mayer will induct legendary blues man Albert King into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 28th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Mayer will also perform a tribute to Albert King with Gary Clark Jr.
In this interview with John Mayer, the musician reflects on the lasting influence of Albert King, including how King's music first resonated with him and why King belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock Hall: What's your ...
In the history of rock and roll, Muddy Waters represented the tide that brought the Southern blues traditions to the north and amplified them. Along the way, he inspired the name of among the biggest rock and roll bands of all time – the Rolling Stones – and countless other artists who emerged in his wake.
Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield on April 4, 1913, in Issaquena County, Mississippi. Following his mother’s death in 1918, McKinley, the son of a farmer, was raised by his grandmother who lovingly gave him the nickname “Muddy” after his fondness for fishing and playing in a muddy creek. Being a pioneer of the Delta blues, Waters eventually took his talents on the road and landed at Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois. Many of the songs that Waters recorded have become blues landmarks, including “Honey Bee,” “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” and “Got My Mojo Working.”
In the Sixties, Waters played a large role in the blues revival that took American blues “across the pond.” A youthful group of Brits who formed a band in 1962 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart and ...
I was seven years old when Exile on Main St. was released in 1972. It wasn't until later in the decade that I first heard the album, though I was already a Rolling Stones fan by then. My earliest rock and roll mentors – friends and family, and musicians and writers that I admired – told me Exile was the Stones record to have, so I picked up a used, well-worn copy on vinyl. The dog-eared double LP jacket was ragged and looked like hell; long gone were the dozen postcards that came with the original packaging. However, the scratched wax delivered an electric sound.
Those sounds – like my battered copy's packaging – were gritty, rough, perfectly unpolished. The album was filled with bravado, the songs seemingly shambolic, unrehearsed and the playlist was sprawling, with more than a dozen tracks. The Stones tapped into America's eclectic songbook, borrowing lines from country, blues, soul, swamp and the heyday of the rock and roll era – and it all sounded genuine. The recording of Exile was shrouded in mystique, a model of rebellion amid tales of wild decadence and hedonism at Nellcôte, the French mansion-cum-studio rented by Keith Richards. Even the ...
On February 11, 2013, Robert Lockwood Jr.'s custom 12-string electric guitar was placed on permanent exhibit in the Roots of Rock and Roll galleries at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Lockwood Jr.'s widow, Mary Lockwood, joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in presenting the famed bluesman's unique guitar, which was his primary instrument until his death in 2006 at age 91.
Lockwood was taught to play the guitar by fabled songwriter and guitarist Robert Johnson, the first modern bluesman, and recorded as a solo artist for more than half a century. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the guitar Lockwood called "the most beautiful guitar I've ever seen" and why Lockwood was crowned the king of Cleveland blues.
Cleveland has been a hive of live music for decades. The city experienced tremendous growth in the years following World War II and, with it, an explosion of live music venues. The core of this activity took place on the east side of the city, home to Cleveland’s African-American population. Clubs like the Music Box, the Tia Juana, Leo’s Casino and Gleason’s hosted the best jazz, blues and R&B performers the era had to offer. The economic prosperity of the time was mirrored in the pulsing entertainment scene.
Following this lively scene was postal worker Jimmy H. Baynes (July 12, 1922 – September 9, 2010), who supplemented his weekly paycheck through Baynes Foto Service at 2220 East 87th Street, primarily photographing local events in the African-American community. Though Baynes was not a trained photographer, the images he created over three decades, from the 1950s into the 1980s – whether they are of weddings, beauty competitions, burlesque shows or live music performances – provide an authentic and candid glimpse into African-American life, music and culture. Throughout the years, Baynes’ photographs appeared in Cleveland magazines and newspapers, such as the Call and Post.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ...
Today, January 21, 2013, we welcome visitors to the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Festival at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, an event that celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King. There are performances, speakers and admission to the Museum is free.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday observance is a time for people to reflect on the accomplishments of the African-American people, including the art form known today as rock and roll. If not for the struggles and sacrifices that Dr. King and his contemporaries made, the voices and musical talents of many African-American artists may not have come to be respected and recognized at the level they are today.
Naturally, the Rock Hall salutes those visionary musicians who were the genesis of rock and roll – not just on Martin Luther King Day, but every day. King's pioneering spirit is echoed in the music that is the foundation of rock and roll, the foundation of all the Rock Hall celebrates.
The Rock Hall's "Roots of Rock" exhibit highlights the importance of recognizing rock's origins – those true pioneers – including gospel, blues, jazz and R&B, soul, country and folk music ...