Although it originated in Ireland, the tune and melody of "Londonderry Air" is known worldwide, its flowing cadence inextricably linked to Irish heritage. When English lawyer and songwriter Frederic Weatherly was introduced to the tune in 1913, he recast lyrics he'd previously penned to match the "Londonderry" melody, giving rise to "Danny Boy,"arguably the most celebrated version of the song.
For more than a century, the stirring folk ballad has been adapted by a diverse cast of performers, including various Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Here, we look at versions of "Danny Boy" by Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jackie Wilson, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eric Clapton.
Cooke cut a beautifully soul-infused version of "Danny Boy" for his 1958 self-titled debut album, adding a charismatic lilt to the arrangement.
Cash recorded a hauntingly solemn version of "Danny Boy" for his 1965 Columbia Records release Orange Blossom Special, an album that included various folk and country standards as interpreted by the incomparable Man in Black.
Wilson, who could effortlessly transition from rock to blues to soul, transformed "Danny Boy" – reportedly one of his mother's favorite songs – in ...
James Taylor's 1970 hit single, and the album that spawned it, Sweet Baby James, helped launch the singer/songwriter boom of the early 70s. "Fire And Rain" reflected the movement's best qualities: limpid acoustic guitars, soulful double bass and Carole King's rippling piano are the backdrop for a sorrowful lament for a "lost" friend. More folk than rock, the song nevertheless boasts a deceptively tough edge, thanks to Russ Kunkel's popping drums and Taylor's in-your-face misery. The singer/songwriter era was often criticized as a self-indulgent, whiny time, but the best efforts, such as "Fire And Rain," could be as compelling as the blues. Though just 22 when he achieved fame, Taylor already had many reasons to sing the blues.
The offspring of an affluent family with roots in both Boston and North Carolina, he'd been in and out of mental institutions and struggled with hard drugs. His first serious foray into music came with friend Danny Kortchmar in the group Flying Machine, mentioned in "Fire And Rain." His self-titled ...
In the time it took Bob Dylan and his hastily assembled band to play three songs, the course of popular music was changed forever. Dylan, the folk bard revealed his rock and roll roots in full. Any barriers that had existed between the genres, as well as the generations that had embraced them, were obliterated. What rock and roll could become and the risks an artist could take became limitless in a single stroke.
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 Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.
Over the course of a short career that only lasted a little more than five years, the Doors had a tremendous impact on rock and roll. They were a truly unique group, with a singer, Jim Morrison, who was a genuine poet with an almost mythical persona. Unlike most bands at the time, the Doors did not have a bass player. Ray Manzarek played the bass lines on his keyboards. John Densmore was a solid, steady drummer. And Robby Krieger was an elegant guitarist with a distinctive style unlike the blues-based guitar leanings favored by most his six-string peers. 20 years after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Robby Krieger sits down for an exclusive interview with the Rock Hall, reflecting on the passing of friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek, patching up differences with John Densmore, the Doors' greatest moments, where the Doors would've gone had Jim Morrison lived, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, what he's listening to now and more.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First, let’s talk about Ray Manzarek’s death…. Did you see that coming? Had he been sick for a while?
Robby Krieger: Not really ...
In the early Sixties, Roger McGuinn had been playing with David Crosby and Gene Clark, billing themselves as the Beefeaters. When Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke joined that group in December 1964, they changed their name to the Byrds. Folk rock pioneers, the Byrds were once described by McGuinn as "Dylan meets the Beatles.” Fittingly, the group's first single, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” was written by Bob Dylan and reached Number One. They'd score another Number One hit in 1966 with "Turn! Turn! Turn!," based on a Bible passage set to music by Pete Seeger, but it was McGuinn's inspired reframing of a traditional folk song that made a poignant statement on 1965's Turn! Turn! Turn! album, transforming "He Was a Friend of Mine" into a eulogy for John F. Kennedy, two years after he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
In 1965, the Byrds were charging forward, building their sound around the three-part harmonies of McGuinn, Clark and Crosby, and McGuinn's shimmering, jangling 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. Their album Turn! Turn! Turn! was released at the end of the year and its title track would go to Number One, but “He Was a Friend of Mine ...
The Everly Brothers' sound borrowed from Appalachian folk, bluegrass and country to form a dreamy, innocent style of rock and roll. Over the decades – particuarly in the Fifties and Sixties – the Everlys’ close-harmony style influenced the likes of the Hollies, Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds and the Beatles, with Paul McCartney noting “They were and still are the very best.” Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 1986, the Everly Brothers are featured in the Museum's Cities and Sounds exhibit, in the Rave On section. There, visitors to the Museum will find the outfits worn by the brothers on the cover of The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers, as well as a 1963 Gibson Everly Brothers model featuring a split pick guard surrounding the sound hole that was meant to represent the brothers’ familial resemblance.
Watch + Listen: Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones "Silver Haired Daddy of Mine"
While best-known for such hits as "Cathy's Clown," "Bye Bye Love,""Wake Up Little Susie," and "All I Have to Do Is Dream," in 1958, Don and Phil Everly surprised fans when they shifted tack, paying homage to their Tennessee roots. On Songs ...
The fans voted, and we listened: the Rolling Stones album to be highlighted during tonight's special listening party in the Museum's Foster Theater will be the group's 1971 classic recording Sticky Fingers. After asking fans to decide what Rolling Stones album the Rock Hall should highlight, the votes were tallied and Sticky Fingers rose to the top. Tonight, visitors can listen to the entire album through the Museum's state-of-the-art Foster Theater sound system and take part in an in-depth look at the record led by the Rock Hall's education department. Tune in to the live stream at 8 pm EST here! The Rock Hall will honor the Rolling Stones as the 2013 Music Masters during the week of October 21.
Released in 1971, Sticky Fingers captured the sound of the Rolling Stones' inimitable, insouciant style. The album was released less than a year after the group launched its own record label – aptly named Rolling Stones Records – for which they signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records. The initial releases on the new label were Sticky Fingers and its raunchy, rocking first single, “Brown Sugar.” Musically, the album showcased the band's versatility, from the country ...
Despite her frequent identification as a "folk singer," Ani DiFranco has culled from an eclectic songbook on more than 20 albums. Perhaps grounded in folk, two decades into her career, DiFranco's expansive catalog has been peppered with soul, funk, jazz, electronic music, spoken word and more. Along the way, she's crossed paths with the likes of Chuck D., Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and many more, while espousing "to use her voice and her guitar as honestly and unflinchingly as she could."
Ani DiFranco's current tour, in support of her latest ¿Which Side Are You On?, included a stop in Cleveland, where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame caught up with her to learn more about what's inspired and influenced DiFranco over the last 20-plus years.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?
Ani Difranco: The first records I ever bought were cassette tapes. I remember driving across the country with a mere handful of them, which I listened to repeatedly. I had a Robert Johnson recording, I had Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy, I had Prince's Purple ...