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Otis Redding's Last Day in Cleveland

Friday, December 9: 4 p.m.
Otis Redding

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 ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Today in Rock

American Music Masters Moments: Les Paul

Wednesday, October 26: 2 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Slash and Les Paul at 2008 American Music Masters® event

American Music Masters Moments: Les Paul is the first installment in a series that shares stories from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Music Masters® events through the years. Beginning in 1996 with a tribute to Woody Guthrie, the American Music Masters series has honored artists who've been instrumental in the development of rock and roll with a range of events celebrating their careers. Each AMM brings together musicians from around the world, setting the stage for special, once-in-a-lifetime moments. These are those stories. 

From their inception in 1996, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s American Music Masters programs have been sensational, but the one that I have the fondest memories of is the 2008 tribute to Les Paul. One of the great highlights of my job is the fact that I was lucky enough to get to know Les. In 2004, I worked with Les to put together and exhibit The New Sound: Les Paul and the Electric Guitar. When the exhibit opened, Les and his trio came to Cleveland and performed on the main stage in the museum’s lobby. That exhibit is still up on the second floor of ...


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

Today in Rock: Wanda Jackson is Born

Thursday, October 20: 9 a.m.
Wanda Jackson

The rockabilly field of the 1950s wasn’t exactly crowded with female performers, but Wanda Jackson didn’t let that stop her from making her mark. Born on October 20, 1937, she emerged from a small town in Oklahoma to become the first Queen of Rockabilly. With encouragement from Elvis Presley, whom she met while on a package tour in 1955, Jackson moved from country music to rock and roll. "I was just doing straight country, and that's all I had ever planned on doing. [Elvis] started talking to me about his kind of music – we didn't really have a name for it at that point," said Jackson during a 2009 Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Vice President of Education and Public Programs Lauren Onkey. "I said look, I love it of course, but you're a guy, you can sing it, and I just don't think I can do it. He just kept insisting that I could do it – he said, 'you got the voice.' He took me out to his home in Memphis, and we played records that afternoon. 

"He made me promise that somewhere along ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Exclusive Interviews

Pioneers of Rock

Monday, September 19: 1 p.m.
Ruth Brown topped the R&B chart with “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" in 1953

"Pioneers of Rock" is the second installment in a special series that highlights the evolution of women in music by placing their accomplishments, inspirations and influence in the context of the eras that shaped their sounds and messages. "America's Foremothers" introduced the series.

As World War II ended in 1945 and G.I.s returned home, the proportion of women on assembly lines fell from 25 percent to 7.5 percent. Women who had – out of necessity – taken an unprecedented place in the work force were urged back into the home by books like 1947’s Modern Woman: The Lost Sex. The book argued that only a return to traditional values and gender roles could restore “women’s inner balance.”

Female rock and roll pioneers were less interested in restoring “women’s inner balance” than they were seeking an even playing field. Taking cues from Jackie Robinson’s and Larry Doby’s breaking the color line in baseball in 1947, and from President Truman’s desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces with the signing of Executive Order 9981 in 1948, American culture and the music business was at the birth of a new age. As with the birth of ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Education

Memorializing Les Paul

Tuesday, September 13: 1:51 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Les Paul memorial in Waukesha, Wisconsin

This past Saturday, I was fortunate to be in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to take part in the dedication of a memorial to Hall of Fame inductee Les Paul. The memorial is in Prairie Home Cemetery, where the legendary guitarist is buried. The event was attended by Les’ family and friends, including his son Russ. Michael Braunstein, Les’ longtime manager and the executive director of the Les Paul Foundation, served as the emcee of the event. Others in attendance included Lou Pallo, who played guitar in the Les Paul Trio for almost 30 years, Henry Juszkiewicz, the chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar, and Ron Sturm, the owner of the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, where Les played shows every Monday night, from 1995 until his death in 2009.

All of the speakers heaped tons of praise on Les. His son said, “He was a person who hit a lot of hearts,” and that was clear from the commentaries. Lou Pallo said: “He was a genius. He was a great, great, great musician.” Gibson’s Juszkiewicz also called Les a “genius,” and he talked about his inventiveness. Speaking about the house where Les lived in New Jersey, the Gibson CEO ...


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

From Breaking Ground to Ground Breaking: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Thursday, September 1: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Pete Townshend at June, 7, 1993 groundbreaking ceremony.

In September 1995, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors in Cleveland. It was a dream more than a decade in the making and one that continues to grow as the Hall prepares to open its Library and Archives in 2012, advancing its mission to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music.

The Hall of Fame and Museum was the brainchild of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, the nonprofit organization launched in 1983 and led by Atlantic Records Founder and Chairman Ahmet Ertegun, along with Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner, attorney Allen Grubman, manager Jon Landau, record executives Seymour Stein and Bob Krasnow, and attorney Suzan Evans. The group sought to establish an organization that recognized "the people who have created this music which has become the most popular music of our time.”

Officials from Cleveland and the State of Ohio approached the Foundation in 1985 and suggested the construction of a major museum. For more than a year, the Foundation considered Cleveland and numerous other cities, including New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Inductee

Knee-Deep in Funk with George Clinton

Monday, August 22: 1 p.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
He's got the funk: George Clinton

On July 30, I hosted a Hall of Fame Series interview with George Clinton, founder and leading light behind Parliament and Funkadelic, who treated a sold-out audience in the Museum's Foster Theater to stories and insights he's gathered during his singular career.

One of the most creative individuals in music, Clinton was very generous in talking about his youth in New Jersey, his move to Detroit and the long gestation of Parliament and the birth of Funkadelic.

Clinton likened his role in Parliament-Funkadelic to that of a jazz bandleader working with different musicians from session to session, though recording under a single moniker. For decades, Clinton has been an innovative maestro, the visionary leading a rotating cast of musicians that is the Parliament-Funkadelic family.

Each time The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has an Inductee share his or her story as part of the live Hall of Fame Series, there are moments that really take the event to another level – and this event was no exception. The conversation got deep when we were joined on stage by several members of the group, including Lige Curry, Michael “Clip” Payne, and inductees “Billy Bass” Nelson and Michael ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exclusive Interviews, Foster Theatre, Event

Double Exposure: African American Music in Film

Wednesday, February 2: 4:34 p.m.

How do you capture the dynamism of live performance on a two-dimensional screen?  In celebration of Black History Month, the Rock Hall will present a special film series, “Double Exposure: African American Music on Film,” highlighting the central role of African Americans in the history of rock and roll. We’ve chosen films that cover a wide range of musical styles, from the from gospel pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (The Godmother of Rock and Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe) to soulman Curtis Mayfield (Movin’ On Up: The Music and Message of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions) to hip-hop innovators Run-D.M.C. (Krush Groove).  Each film features legendary performers, including many Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.  The films also reflect historical and cultural changes in African-American culture during the rock and roll era. We’ll have special introductions and discussions to some of the films by guest scholars, producers, filmmakers and Rock Hall Education staff. All of these movies will be screened in the Rock Hall’s state-of-the-art Foster Theater and are free with a reservation.

The month will also include a class in the Rock Hall’s K-12 program, Rockin ...


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