CLEVELAND :: Blog
Thursday, December 15: 2 p.m.
On December 15, 1921, Albert James Freed – the man who famously christened a radical new form of music as "rock 'n' roll" - was born near Johnston, Pennsylvania. Moving to Salem, Ohio, with his family at age 12, Alan (as he was better known) Freed spent his formative years in the Buckeye State, eventually attending Ohio State, where the campus radio station piqued a fascination with radio that would stay with him through all his days. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
By the early 1950s, Freed had settled in to a new DJ position in Cleveland, playing R&B records during a segment sponsored by friend and local record shop owner Leo Mintz, whose inner city store, Record Rendezvous, was selling many records by burgeoning R&B artists. "I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1950, '51, '52," said noted DJ and rock and roll historian Norm N. Nite during the first Hall of Fame Inductions in 1986. "I listened to Alan Freed playing those records on the Moondog show. I knew at that particular time that it was something special that was going on." It was during this time that Freed first ...
Friday, December 9: 4 p.m.
December 9, 1967 was a busy day for Otis Redding. The first stop on his winter tour was Cleveland, Ohio, where he was scheduled to appear on the locally produced, nationally syndicated (in 98 markets around the country) television show Upbeat, as well as perform two concerts at legendary nightclub Leo’s Casino. The singer was eager to get back on the road after a three-month break recovering from surgery for throat polyps. He had just recorded what was to become the biggest and most enduring hit of his career, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Redding started that Saturday at the WEWS studios at 30th and Euclid Avenue for Upbeat rehearsals. Upbeat host Don Webster recalled on the website clevelandseniors.com that typically the show would be rehearsed from about 9 am until noon, working on the technical aspects like blocking and lighting. After that, the production team and talent would break for lunch and come back at 1 pm to do the taping. It would take two to three hours to tape the one-hour show. That show was broadcast at 5 pm, the same day of the taping. Webster never did a lot of pre-interviewing, feeling that ...
Friday, July 8: 12:45 p.m.
Daphne Carr is a Women Who Rocks and electric bass instructor for the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at Columbia University, and the series editor of Best Music Writing. She co-wrote the afterward for Out of the Vinyl Deeps: The Rock Writing of Ellen Willis (University of Minnesota Press 2011), with Rolling Stone.com’s managing editor Evie Nagy and is the co-founder of GirlGroup, a listserv devoted to discussion about women music scholars, critics, journalists, and writers. She recently attended the Rock Hall’s Summer Teacher Institute and visited the Women Who Rock exhibit.
One of the things we teach our girls at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls is that “rock” is a verb, and that you can rock anything if you give it your soul, passion, and time. We encourage the girls not just to rock their instruments, but to become passionate listeners and critics of the music and musical culture they have around them, to become brilliant, even-handed and confident in their assessments of what makes music great, and to not unnecessarily shut down others who rock differently.
There may be no greater role model for that kind of ...
Friday, April 9: 9:19 a.m.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to support the Cleveland music scene in featuring performances by local bands every summer, sharing the stage with national artists such as Man Man, Akron/Family and Chairlift during the Museum’s Summer Sessions concert series. The city’s wide array of artists perform just about every genre of music, and the bi-annual Cleveland Lottery League at the Beachland Ballroom is just one more way the power of music proves to bring people together.
Two years ago something completely original, completely Cleveland, and very special happened when 144 area musicians got together in a way never imagined before as part of the first ever Cleveland Lottery League. Essentially a community art project like no other, 33 all-new bands were formed, their efforts culminating with a concert for something the League was calling, and very aptly so, THE BIG SHOW 2008.
I was there the night of THE BIG SHOW 2008, and no exaggerated-filled explanation written here can truly capture the civic pride and sheer magic of what was presented that night.
Now, two years later, we are one day away from what is planned be a bi-annual event for ...
Thursday, January 28: 12 p.m.
Guest blogger Caryn Rose shares her thoughts with us about her visit to see the Rock Hall’s special exhibit From Asbury Park to the Promised Land and her first tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It’s a funny thing to have watched Bruce Springsteen sitting at the Kennedy Center, with his rainbow ribbon award around his neck, and find yourself standing in front of that very award just a few weeks later, in his exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s even odder that that ribbon is in a room along with the legendary Esquire, and that you can get close enough to the guitar (inside its case, of course!) that you can see that the legend is true, that there’s more glue than wood in some places. It’s in a room with the very jeans that adorned the very ass that graced the cover of Born In The USA, the original handwritten lyrics to “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” (with the “freeze out” written in wriggly letters I assume was meant to convey ice), the very flannel shirt that was on the cover of The River (the cuffs so ...
Wednesday, November 18: 10:07 p.m.
Gregg Rolie thanks the audience at the AMM Janis Joplin Tribute Concert on November 14, 2009. Photo:
There are few things better that come out of our education programs than the real “behind the music” style stories shared by the artists and musicians who we celebrate. Such a story was told to me this past weekend by the co-founder and lead singer of Santana, Hall of Fame Inductee Gregg Rolie when he was in town to perform with fellow Inductee Michael Carabello for our 14th Annual American Music Masters series honoring Janis Joplin.
In most of the biographies you will read about Santana, they are rather ambiguous about the details of how the band was actually formed. You read about how Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana were both in San Francisco in the 1960’s and then magically, there was Santana. When Gregg Rolie said to me, “you know how Santana really formed, don’t you?…it was in a tomato patch.” I knew I was about to be let in on a rock and roll secret.
This is how it really happened.
The origins of the Santana Blues Band, which later became just Santana, lie in a chance meeting between keyboardist and lead singer, Gregg Rolie and guitarist, Carlos Santana. The two knew of each other ...
Tuesday, October 27: 4:14 p.m.
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Were you there? Do you remember when? As we gear up for our 2009 American Music Masters celebration, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, a few friends and colleagues reminded us that the master herself graced different stages in Cleveland in 1968 and 1969, and her performances still resonate with attendees. Jane Scott remembered that Janis exploded onstage at Public Hall in October of 1968. Advertisements of Janis’ May gig at the same place were splashed across the pages of the Plain Dealer. Pat Garling described her August 30, 1969 Blossom show as “musical magnificence.” Whether you attended one of the Public Hall performances or the gigs at Blossom, what do you remember about them? Did you “revel in psychedelic brainwash?” Were you jolted and held? What stayed with you? Feel free to reminisce here, and share your unforgettable memories.
- October 4, 1968: Big Brother and the Holding Company at Public Hall
- May 9, 1969: Kozmic Blues at Public Hall
- August 29, 1969: Janis ...
Monday, September 14: 5:02 p.m.
Hundreds of fans line up to meet Todd Rundgren and members of Utopia at the Rock Hall.
photo caption two: Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock Hall (right), poses with Todd Rundgren in front of his exhibit.
Labor Day was an exciting day for Cleveland and the Rock Hall. Todd Rundgren came to town to kick off the first two dates of his A Wizard / A True Star album tour. While in town, he also wanted to come by the Museum for the unveiling of his new spotlight exhibit which features a number of artifacts to tell the story of his career, including his Back to the Bars stage outfit and Patti Smith’s “Star Fever” poem, which was included in the first issues of A Wizard / A True Star. In addition to seeing his exhibit, Todd took time to see and meet his fans.
It was an exciting time in the Museum for fans to see an artist up close and an incredible amount of people stopped in for a photo and autograph. It’s hard to really capture the excitement of the people who came to the Rock Hall from all around the world to meet Todd Rundgren.
Along with Todd were his two of his band mates from Utopia, Kasim Sulton and ...