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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "That'll Be the Day"

Monday, August 11: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Buddy Holly "That'll Be the Day" original recording and Buddy Holly exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Buddy Holly embodied the well-mannered, first-generation rock and roll star. He aroused hysteria among teenagers, charting seven Top 10 singles in 1957 and 1958, but with his horn-rimmed glasses, bow tie, conservative haircut and winning smile, he wasn’t reviled by disapproving parents. He changed the definition of exactly who could become a rock star. Holly melded his love of country music and rockabilly into likable, catchy rock and roll tunes that stand as classics. Yet success wasn't just handed to Buddy Holly.

"That'll Be the Day," his first hit, was a chart-topping million seller. But it was slow to catch on, and Holly had been struggling professionally for well over a year beforehand. The unlikely inspiration for the song was actor John Wayne, who used the title phrase repeatedly in the 1956 western The Searchers. Holly and drummer Jerry Allison wrote the tune with producer Norman Petty, and then recorded it in Nashville during Holly's aborted stint as a Decca recording artist. Decca released two Holly singles, neither of them were "That'll Be the Day."

Seven months later Holly and Allison recorded the song again, as members of the newly formed Crickets. This time the ...


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In the Studio with Metallica Producer Flemming Rasmussen

Tuesday, August 5: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Metallica Ride the Lightning 1984 album cover Flemming Rasmussen producer interview

What was it like being in the studio with Metallica as they recorded some of their earliest albums: Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and … And Justice For All? Producer Flemming Rasmussen knows. Tapped by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton in 1984, Rasmussen was hired to produce Metallica's second studio album, Ride the Lightning. The thrash classic followed the band's 1983 debut, Kill 'Em All, and brought the band to Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, where they connected with Rasmussen.

On the 30th anniversary of Ride the Lightning, Flemming Rasmussen visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a trip to the region to deliver a keynote speech and master classes at Capital University's Music Technology Workshop. While in Cleveland, Flemming donated studio photos to the Rock Hall's Library and Archives, and sat down to talk about recording three seminal heavy metal recordings with 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Metallica, including the recording of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Master of Puppets," and what he believes is the best Metallica recording.

Rock Hall: How did you first start working with Metallica ...


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Headbanger's Anthem: AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" Celebrates 35th Anniversary

Monday, August 4: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

AC/DC Highway to Hell Album Cover Art 1979 original

A guitarist in schoolboy knickers, a singer who must have gargled with glass shards, and a penchant for tales of non-stop debauchery made AC/DC the late 70s archetypal heavy metal band. Brothers Angus and Malcolm Young generated bulldozing guitar, with their early records produced by third sibling, George (former member of popsters the Easybeats, who had a hit in 1966 with "Friday on my Mind").

Released in the first week of August 1979, AC/DC’s Highway to Hell was a major turning point for the group. Though the group's fifth album, it was the band’s first collaboration with producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, who brought a keen focus to AC/DC’s energetic sound.

With the album's release, AC/DC crept into the U.S. mainstream on the strength of "Highway to Hell," the thunderous opening to the album of the same name. The song didn't endear them to religious right-wingers, who posited that AC/DC's name was shorthand for "anti Christ/Devil's children."  Nor did it help when California's "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez, expressed his admiration for the group.

WATCH: AC/DC Perform "Highway to Hell" live at the ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." 30th Anniversary

Wednesday, June 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." turns 30

Released in June 1984, Born in the U.S.A. remains among the best-selling albums in rock and roll history, with seven Top 10 hits that sent 1999 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Springsteen's rock stardom into the stratosphere. Its narrative tone had much in common with 1982's stark, somber and critically lauded Nebraska, with many of the songs that comprised Born in the U.S.A. beginning life in the same sessions that produced that album. The root influences of blues, American folk songs and the new cinematic style of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick brought a darker and more introspective view to the characters. “I’m on Fire,” for example, was a song of desire, compulsion and personal struggle that became a Top 10 hit in 1985, despite its intense subject matter.

However, Born in the U.S.A. also traded in more nostalgic storytelling and tongue-in-cheek humor on tracks like "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark" – all of which proved especially resonant with audiences around the country. Thanks in no small part to 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the E Street Band, the arrangements were ...


continue Categories: History of Rock and Roll, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock

Folk-rock findings at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives

Tuesday, June 3: 5 p.m.

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives about my books on 1960s folk-rock. Most of it was centered around rare film clips, but I was also asked to talk a bit about the research I’ve done at the library over the past two weeks (thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation). This is for the expanded ebook edition of my two-volume work on 1960s folk-rock, Turn! Turn! Turn! (published as a print edition in 2002) and Eight Miles High (published as a print edition in 2003), which I’m combining into a single ebook, Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s.

It would take many hours and many pages to cover all of the material I’ve discovered at the library. So I used just a few images to illustrate how rare items could shed some light on folk-rock’s history, even after having written about it for 600 pages in the print editions. All of these are taken from ads that appeared between 1965 and 1967 in Cash Box, the biggest music trade magazine besides Billboard, but (unlike Billboard) very hard to find copies of these ...


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Banned, "Dirty Water" and Punk: Interview with the Standells

Thursday, May 15: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Standells' "Dirty Water" banned in Boston.

With songs like "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "Why Pick on Me" and "Riot on the Sunset Strip," the Standells brand of cranked-up garage rock in the 60s earned them a reputation as among the godfathers of punk rock. The fact their music has been covered by the likes of Aerosmith, Minor Threat, Bruce Springsteen and U2 – not too mention a litany of punk acts emerging in 1977 – illustrates that their knack for punchy hooks has engendered them to musicians and fans alike.

With an instantly recognizable-and easy to play-guitar intro, "Dirty Water" became a garage band staple in 1966. Onetime Four Preps member Ed Cobb wrote the song, but the Los Angeles–based Standells version recorded in a  garage studio in southern California turned it into a growling classic. Once squeaky-clean, the Standells went proto-punk in a bid to glom onto the bad-boy image of British groups like the Rolling Stones and the Animals. Drummer/vocalist Dick Dodd (a former Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer) sneered his way through this tale of unrequited lust and of vitriol aimed at Boston. That city retaliated by banning "Dirty Water," which didn't hurt sales. The canny Standells went on to ...


continue Categories: History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Rolling Stones, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Whole Lotta Love"

Wednesday, May 7: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
"Led Zeppelin II" gets re-release with new versions of "Whole Lotta Love" and more.

This week, it was announced that Hall of Fame Inductees Led Zeppelin would be reissuing their first three albums with a series of box sets featuring previously unheard mixes, live versions and one unreleased track. In advance of Led Zeppelin II's re-release, the group shared a radio edit of a rough mix of the classic cut "Whole Lotta Love" that sounds quite different than the famous radio-staple studio version, most notably Jimmy Page's guitar parts and Robert Plant's vocals. It's a mix as intriguing to listeners as the song's controversial – sometimes litigious – history.

Experience the world's greatest music festivals past, present and future at the Rock Hall in Cleveland!

Plant remembers the first time he noted similarities between a Zep-credited composition and an obscure but not that obscure blues. JPage's response was "shut up and keep walking."  Led Zeppelin almost got away with "Whole Lotta Love." The crunching riff and relentless thud that opens Led Zeppelin II could be attributed to few other bands in 1969. But as the lyrics unfolded, certain listeners got a dose of deja vu. "Whole Lotta Love" distinctly recalled the Small Faces' number "You Need Loving." Had the ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

The Top 10 Concert Festival Moments in Rock and Roll History

Wednesday, April 23: 6 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

In March 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum invited fans around the globe to vote for the greatest festival moments in the history of rock and roll. Thousands of votes were cast, and when the results were tallied, a Top 10 emerged. Here are those amazing festival moments, from Newport Folk to Woodstock, Monterey Pop to Lollapalooza; from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters to Nine Inch Nails.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, opens a new feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience, on April 25, 2014.


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, History of the Blues, History of Rock and Roll, Exhibit, Inductee
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