A commanding stage presence is an essential element of the rock and roll spectacle. Beyond captivating audiences with their music, artists from Abba to ZZ Top have projected their quirks, singular identities and personas via unique stage costumes. Some artists' costume choices are icons to themselves – think Michael Jackson’s gilded glove or Elvis Presley’s bejeweled jumpsuit. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is home to many of these iconic costumes and ground-breaking designs. Here are some of our favorites, which you can see when visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum!
David Bowie's Suit, 1972 / Design by Freddie Burretti
David Bowie’s breakthrough came with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972), a thoroughly modern album that promulgated the notion of rock star as space alien. Bowie melded rock with theater, creating the provocative character and alter ego “Ziggy Stardust." Bowie wore his lightning-bolt emblazoned suit onstage during his tour to support the album.
The Supremes' Dresses, 1969 / Design by Bob Mackie
The Supremes rose from the poverty of ...
It's not every day that the Rock Hall gets a serious request to borrow Janis Joplin's iconic Porsche 356C cabriolet from our collection. Almost daily, visitors and fans from around the world ask questions like "Can I take it for a test drive?" But this time was different. We agreed to hand over the keys – though it wasn't quite that simple.
The Rock Hall’s collections department receives regular requests from museums, galleries, schools, event organizers and even television shows to borrow an artifact or two for their projects. They come from all over the United States, but more and more are streaming in from overseas. Just within the last year we have had inquiries from Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, Hungary, Russia, Dubai and Canada. Many are compelling, interesting and hard to pass up, while some are downright quirky.
One of the more exciting inquiries we have received this year is from the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. They asked to borrow Janis Joplin’s 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet to include in their exhibition entitled Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed, a 22-car display of rare Porsche automobiles owned by such personalities as Steve McQueen and ...
On October 9, 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will unveil its latest exhibit: Collecting the Counterculture: Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr. in the Museum’s Patty, Jay and Kizzie Baker Gallery. It's an exhibit that all started two years ago, in Geneva, Switzerland.
My job as the registrar at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has afforded me many opportunities to travel. One of those trips brought me to Geneva, where in November 2011 I assisted Rock Hall curators Craig Inciardi and Howard Kramer as they pored over the unique and vast collection of the late Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr.
When my colleagues and I arrived at the sprawling, discreet office space housing the Santo Domingo collection, I was immediately impressed and overwhelmed – there seemed to be treasures everywhere. The complex of rooms was filled with big rolls of movie and band posters, pinball machines, miscellaneous pop culture artifacts, floor-to-ceiling shelves of music and art books, and an expansive array of counterculture and drug-related paraphernalia and literature. As an Andy Warhol buff, I was particularly pleased to see one of Warhol’s small art prints, propped against a reading chair ...
Best Coast's 2013 tour dates recently included a stop at the Grog Shop in Cleveland. After the concert, during a rare moment of free time, band members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where they were struck by such artifacts as the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' classic song "God Only Knows."
Based in Los Angeles, Best Coast formed in 2009 around the duo of Cosentino and Bruno, quickly releasing a host of 7" and EP recordings. In 2010, the group's single "When I'm With You" proved a breakout hit and was followed that July by Best Coast's debut album, Crazy For You. All the material showcased Cosentino and Bruno's lo-fi aesthetic and pop-hook sensibility, with references to the surf rock and girl groups of the Sixties the band admired.
With extensive touring and popular music videos – including 2011's "Our Deal" directed by Drew Barrymore – the band's star continued to rise. The band's sophomore effort, The Only Place, was released in 2012.
In this interview with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, the singer and songwriter talks about her influences – from Blink 182 ...
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 ...
On a rare day off on our recent U.S. tour, both The Zombies and the band supporting us, Et Tu Brucé had the honour of being given a fantastic V.I.P. tour of Cleveland's superb Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
We have actually visited before – as far as we can recall, though, not for eight years or so – but were absolutely stunned by the way the place has grown in that time, both in a physical sense and also the nature of what it has to offer. In actual fact, we stayed about three hours, and only managed to wander around about a third of it! It's an absolutely fascinating place, and one that now definitely demands to be visited several times – there's just too much to be packed in on one visit.
We started off by being given a kind and warm welcome by Greg Harris, who is, I believe, the head of the whole operation. Then we were shown around the vaults, to get glimpses of some of the stuff not presently available to be shown to the ...
Each year, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum members play a role in determining a new artifact to be exhibited at the Museum, the Members Choice artifact. Hundreds of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members voted from a list of artifacts including Joan Jett’s jewelry, belt, and jacket she wore in the “I Hate Myself for Loving You” video and Peter Buck of R.E.M.’s 1989 Rickenbacker guitar. When all the votes were counted, the 2013 nod went to the Material Girl, the Queen of Pop and Hall of Fame Inductee: Madonna.
As a woman who has lived life on her own terms, Madonna has been an icon to many since bursting on the scene in 1981.
No one in the pop realm has manipulated the media with such a savvy sense of self-promotion. Madonna’s appearance on the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards broadcast live on September 14, 1984 is a case in point. Wearing a white lingerie-cum-wedding dress ensemble, she writhed across the stage at Radio City Music Hall while performing her hit “Like A Virgin,” shocking sensibilities and setting the stage for her reputation as one of the most uninhibited and ...
On April 18, 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officially ushers the 2013 class of inductees into the Hall of Fame during the 28th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The class – Lou Adler, Heart, Quincy Jones, Albert King, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush and Donna Summer – are represented in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland's newest exhibit. In the series of clips below, get a behind the scenes look at the 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees exhibit. Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to see the new exhibit!