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funk :: Blog

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Shining Star"

Thursday, July 17: 5:56 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

In black music of the Seventies, Earth Wind & Fire were the Beatles to Parliament-Funkadelic's Rolling Stones. There's no better example of EW&F's positive vibration and spiritual uplift than this million-selling Number One Pop/R&B hit from 1975, written by group members Maurice White, Larry Dunn and Philip Bailey. "Shining Star" was one of a brace of EW&F songs recorded for the soundtrack of That's The Way of the World, a racially charted music biz drama starring Harvey Keitel. The film didn't do much at the box office, but the Earth Wind & Fire LP of the same name became a massive hit that topped both the Pop and R&B album charts. "Shining Star" – a flawless fusion of funk rhythms, rock guitar, and the sanctified singing of White and Bailey – won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Recently, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind & Fire visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and talked with the Rock Hall about what it means to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and be recognized ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Dance to the Music" and "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin"

Thursday, June 19: 3:35 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Sly and the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music" is a Song That Shaped Rock and Roll.

Preaching a gospel of tolerance set against a heady genre-blending groove, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Sly and the Family Stone were the integrated multi-gender Pied Pipers of the Woodstock generation. The group's message – and inimitable synthesizing of rock, soul, R&B, funk and psychedelia into a danceable music – helped bring diverse audiences together, with their greatest triumph coming at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. During their unforgettable nighttime set, leader Sly Stone initiated a fevered call-and-response with the audience of 400,000–plus during an electrifying version of “I Want to Take You Higher.” Voters around the world ranked that moment as one of the greatest festival moments of all time, and it is included in the Rock Hall's feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.

The group connected with the rising counterculture by means of songs that addressed issues of personal pride and liberation in the context of driving, insistent and sunny-tempered music that fused rock and soul, creating a template for 70s funk. As proof that they were reaching a rainbow coalition among the young, Sly and the Family Stone dominated the late 60s charts with such essential singles as “Dance to ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Hall of Fame

Sly and the Family Stone Live at 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair

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

Sly and the Family Stone were the virtual embodiment of the Woodstock Nation: integrated, soulful and funky. Even with several hit records behind them, the audience wasn’t prepared for the funk-driven soul revue laid down by the Family Stone. Few, if any, white audience members had ever experienced anything like their showmanship. Sly and the Family Stone rewrote the book on performance.

Sly and the Family Stone Live at Woodstock 1969The 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.

Get more of the story at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives!


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

New at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: A Jackson 5-era Outfit Worn by Michael Jackson

Friday, September 13: 4 p.m.
Michael Jackson sports outfit from his Jackson 5 days, now on exhibit

Starting this week, visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will be able to see a new addition to the Rock Hall's Michael Jackson collection: an outfit worn by the King of Pop early in his Jackson 5 days.

I clearly remember the first time I saw this newest addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection. I got an extreme close-up look at Michael’s orange, yellow and red ensemble, with my nose inches from the television screen. I was watching the Jackson 5’s second television special, which aired on November 5, 1972. Michael and his brothers wore a succession of colorful, fashionable, individualized yet coordinated outfits on the television special.

The warm, saturated colors, double-knit fabric, turtleneck and bellbottom design of this particular outfit were the apogee of early 1970s hip fashion, seen on fashion runways from couturiers like Halston and Yves St. Laurent, accessible and readily adaptable for the ready-to-wear market.

The stylish turtleneck top of the outfit with the heart-embellished “J5” logo is actually a body suit – clearly a necessity to accommodate Michael’s athletic dancing. Michael was growing up fast, but ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit

War's Lonnie Jordan Talks Music, Playing with Eric Burdon and Jimi Hendrix's Final Performance

Friday, May 10: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Interview with Lonnie Jordan of War (pictured front, center), who performs live on Saturday, May 11

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 ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Exclusive Interviews

Concert Radar: Bootsy Collins

Tuesday, April 3: 12:20 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Bootsy Collins

This weekend, on Friday, April 6, don't miss a uniquely funky opportunity as 1997 Hall of Fame Inductee Bootsy Collins plays an intimate show at one of Cleveland's great music venues, the Beachland Ballroom. This is the first of many musical performances during the Rock Hall's 11 days of events surrounding this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions Ceremony on Saturday, April 14. 

The charismatic Collins – easily identified by his singular fashion sense: star-shaped glasses, colorful suits and top hats, and  glittery "space bass" – was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, alongside his mentor George Clinton (who'll headline the Free Concert for Cleveland with Kid Cudi and Kids These Days at the Q.)

Over the years, the bassist, singer, songwriter and Cincinnati, Ohio, native has released more than a dozen albums, including 2011's Tha Funk Capital Of The World, a deeply grooving history of funk as only Collins and his collaborators could curate. The musicians joining Collins at the Beachland Ballroom include P-Funk alumni and fellow Hall of Famers drummer extraordinaire Frankie "Kash" Waddy and Bernie Worrell, long recognized as a keyboard wizard ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)"

Wednesday, February 22: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Parliament's "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock

1997 Hall of Fame inductee George Clinton, the mad genius of funk, launched his assault on music business-as-usual late in the 1960s with a short-lived but seminal R&B quintet called the Parliaments. As writer and producer, Clinton bent the group's post-Motown sound in a direction as smart as it was quirky. The Parliaments officially dissolved after one 1970 album and a major contractual problem; but Clinton, with an eye to the freak flags flown by Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, recreated the group as a band of outsiders complete with their own lingo, costumes, myths, and philosophy ("Free your mind… and your ass will follow"). Transforming himself into Dr. Funkenstein, Clinton cooked up a funk feast that spiked James Brown's gritty gumbo (much of it provided by original Brown musicians like Bootsy Collins, Fred Wesley, and Maceo Parker) with heavy doses of psychedelia, and a dash of rock and roll.  No one sounded like Parliament except Funkadelic, a virtually identical group Clinton signed to another label and encouraged to be even more eccentric. Touring "together" with up to 40 members as "A Parliafunkadelicment Thang," the bands became one of the most successful black concert acts of ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Concert Radar

Tuesday, November 15: 10 a.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Paul Simon / Photo by Mark Seliger

The next few weeks include three don't-miss concerts: 

Paul Simon

2001 Hall of Fame inductee Paul Simon will be at the University of Akron's EJ Thomas Hall on Wednesday, November 23. Simon's latest album, So Beautiful Or So What, is his first album since Surprise in 2006, and has earned expansive critical acclaim. The album continues a tradition of delivering original songs that reflect the veteran songwriter's eclectic influences. Note that Cleveland's own award-winning world percussionist and drummer, Jamey Haddad, will be on stage in his long running role as percussionist in Simon's band, helping negotiate the varied rhythms found on So Beautiful – and beyond – for a live audience.

Paul Simon - "Getting Ready For Christmas Day" (from So Beautiful Or So What)

Cameo 

Falling close on the heels of Simon's show is an incredible funk lineup at PlayhouseSquare's State Theatre on Saturday, November 26: The Mary Jane Girls featuring Val Young, "Mister Cool" Morris Day and the Time ("Girl," "Jungle Love") and Cameo, whose 1986 album Word Up! produced two certified funk hits in the title track and ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Event
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