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gospel :: Blog

Buddy Holly's Final Recordings

Thursday, January 31: 9 a.m.
Posted by Shelby Morrison
Buddy Holly fan club card, circa 1958

In June 1958, Buddy Holly met and fell in love with Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist at Peer-Southern Music, Holly’s music publisher, in New York City. After proposing marriage on their first date, the two were married in Lubbock, Texas, in August. After their wedding, Buddy and Maria Elena Holly moved into an apartment at the Brevoort building, at 11 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, on the site of a house once occupied by Mark Twain and just two blocks from Greenwich Village’s “beatnik” culture, which was in full swing by the late 1950s. 

Living in the Village, Holly and Maria Elena would spend hours wandering around the streets, frequenting intellectual hangouts such as the Bitter End and Café Bizarre. “Buddy loved those places,” Maria Elena remembered. “The strange clothes the people wore, the poetry readings, the way they talked to one another. He loved the freedom, the way everyone was allowed to do their thing.” More than anything, Holly was attracted to the music that would literally drift down the street – blues, jazz, folk, even flamenco music.  

Visit Buddy Holly exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to see rare Buddy Holly original suitBy the time the young couple had settled into their Manhattan apartment, Holly had set up a recording and publishing ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Inspired Message and Gift to Rock and Roll

Monday, January 21: 11:30 a.m.
Posted by Greg Harris
Rock Hall salutes the pioneering spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lasting inspiration

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. 

rare Lead Belly acoustic guitar and blues exhibitThe 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 ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Inductee, Exhibit, Event

Album Notes: Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash"

Wednesday, January 11: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Despite the subtitle of Johnny Cash's 1963 compilation album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash, the 12 tracks more accurately represent a nicely curated assemblage of singles and recordings from the Man in Black's late Fifties to the early Sixties catalog. As an undisputed legend of American song, a titanic figure on par with Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash arguably sang more types of songs, including folk, country, blues and gospel, than any of his peers or predecessors – and this album illustrates that versatility.

Although present at the genesis of rock and roll as one of the earliest signings to Sam Phillips' Sun Records in 1955, Cash recorded for nearly three decades with Columbia Records, a fruitful period that produced an estimated 1,400 songs. Cash's 16th album, Ring of Fire did, in fact, feature some of his best material, and on the week of January 11, 1964, it became the Number One album on Billboard's new Country Album chart.

The title track, "Ring Of Fire," written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, is indicative of the idiosyncratic genius that's a hallmark of Cash's songwriting, with its ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Today in Rock

Aretha's Amazing Grace

Wednesday, November 2: 1 p.m.
Posted by Aaron Cohen
Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace (1972)

It’s a great thrill for me to attend the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s American Music Masters conference on the Queen of Soul on Saturday, November 5, and I’m grateful for the Rock Hall providing me this opportunity to discuss my new book about Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace.

While Amazing Grace is Franklin's most accomplished and best-selling LP, it is also an album that's frequently overlooked – even among many of Franklin’s biggest fans. None of the songs on it became pop hits, nor were they intended to be. When she made this recording in 1972, just before her 30th birthday, her voice was at its peak. Her best band backed her, including the fantastic drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, who is also part of Saturday's conference and will be sitting in on drums during Saturday night's tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare's State Theater. She was collaborating with James Cleveland, leader of the Southern California Community Choir, and whose voice was as influential in gospel as Franklin's became in rock and soul. Most important, she recorded the album live, at a church in Los Angeles, and in doing so revisited the ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Education, Exclusive Interviews
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