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Members of Rise Against, the MC5, Rage Against the Machine and Gaslight Anthem Cover Bruce Springsteen's "The Ghost of Tom Joad"

Wednesday, August 7: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
RATM guitarist Tom Morello with Lead Belly's guitar at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Released in November 1995, The Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen was a far cry from the celebratory rock and roll marathons of Born in the USA, sharing more in common with the sheer production and pointed commentary of his masterpiece, Nebraska. A largely acoustic album of spectral songs about marginalized characters struggling to survive in an increasingly troubled America, The Ghost of Tom Joad – and its gripping title track – recently found a new rock and roll audience. 

Nearly 17 years after its release, in September 2012, the Chicago punk quartet Rise Against breathed new life into the powerful narratives and blunt political commentary of Springsteen's "Joad" at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Joined on stage by Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, the MC5's Wayne Kramer and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, the members of Rise Against delivered a bold recasting of "The Ghost of Tom Joad." The song will appear on the forthcoming Rise Against rarities compilation, Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers 2000-2013 (scheduled release date is September 10, 2013). 

"I remember watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th-anniversary special where Tom Morello played this song with Springsteen himself and ...


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At the Library and Archives: Cleveland Punk Legend Peter Laughner Collection of Recordings and Articles

Wednesday, July 24: 2 p.m.
Posted by Jennie Thomas
The Peter Laughner collection at the L&A helps tell the story of Cleveland's underground 70s scene.

The latest addition to the Library and Archives' Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives is the new Collection on Peter Laughner, Cleveland punk legend. In his short lifetime, Laughner co-founded both Rocket from the Tombs – a band described by writer Lester Bangs as "an amphetamine-driven blend of Velvets-Stooges" – and Pere Ubu, and was a contributing writer to rock magazines like Creem and an all-around gadfly of the Midwest and New York rock scenes. Journalist Richie Unterberger wrote of Laughner, "As a singer, songwriter, and performer in numerous Cleveland bands, he was probably the single biggest catalyst in the birth of Cleveland's alternative rock scene in the mid-'70s. 

The Peter Laughner collection at the Library and Archives includes rare vinyl, ¼-inch and audiocassette recordings of Laughner solo and with his bands, as well as performances from his wife, poet Charlotte Pressler. Those keen on learning more about the 1970s Cleveland underground music scene will want to read Pressler's first-hand account in the issue of CLE Magazine, also included in the collection; while those interested in Laughner’s pre-punk career will want to take a look at the poster for his first band, a blues group called Mr. Charlie ...


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Rare Performances: The Stooges Perform "Search and Destroy" Live

Monday, March 25: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Iggy Pop performs live during the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

The original Stooges seemed to push rock and roll as far as it could go before they flamed out in 1970. However, in 1973, with encouragement from David Bowie, Iggy Stooge returned, though he now called himself Iggy Pop. His reconstituted Stooges rocked with even more abandon. On the aptly named 1973 Raw Power album, the Stooges achieved an incendiary sound that was thrilling and dangerous. "The Stooges define a moment in rock and roll history. They symbolize the destruction of flower power and they introduce us to raw power," said Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, when he inducted the group into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. "When I think of the sound of war, chaos and demolition; sex, sensuality, poetry and brutal truth, I think of the Stooges. It's the sound of blood and guts, sex and drugs, heart and soul, love and hate, poetry and peanut butter."

"Search and Destroy" was among the album's standout tracks. On the brash recording, Iggy's distorted vocals carried lyrics that spoke for Vietnam vets, disenfranchised youth and anyone else who felt left out in 1973. The music bubbled with urgency, with James Williamson's ...


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10 Essential Irish Rockers

Friday, March 15: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
East German Trabant cars from U2's Zoo TV tour, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

From the Northern Ireland counties to the southern cities of the Republic, Ireland has been – and continues to be – home to some of the world's best known and most-beloved musicians. With a diverse cast of voices and music, Ireland's contributions to rock and roll have expanded the boundaries of the genre. Artists have acted as a force for change and forward thinking, while providing a record of tradition. Songwriters have delivered uniquely Irish narratives, though rich with universal themes and the human experience.

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum shares its 10 essential Irish rockers.

10 Essential Irish Rockers

Them – "Gloria"

Released in 1964 as the b-side to "Baby, Please Don't Go" (itself a smoldering cover of the Big Joe Williams' song), the Van Morrison–penned "Gloria" became a garage-rock classic, with artists such as the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Patti Smith later covering it. Its three chords, speak-sing vocal delivery and indelible "G-L-O-R-I-A" chorus inspired legions of budding musicians and, along with "Here Comes the Night," gave the Belfast group among its first tastes of success. 

Horslips – "Dearg Doom"

Innovators steeped in tradition, Horslips emerged ...


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On Exhibit: Nirvana

Wednesday, February 20: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
1992 Nirvana concert poster, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Born on February 20, 1967, today would've been Kurt Cobain's 46th birthday. Emerging from the burgeoning grunge movement of the early 80s – an alternative sub genre that incorporated elements of indie, punk, hardcore and heavy metal – the Cobain-fronted Nirvana came together in 1987, releasing their debut Bleach in 1989, with bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Chad Channing.

In April 1990, Nirvana began work on its second album. With drummer Chad Channing leaving the band, Cobain and Novoselic recorded tracks with Mudhoney drummer Dan Peters and later Dale Crover of the Melvins, both friends from the Seattle music scene. Eight songs were recorded for the group's demo: "Immodium" (later renamed "Breed"), "Dive" (later released as the B-side to "Sliver"), "In Bloom," "Pay to Play" (eventually renamed "Stay Away" and given a new set of lyrics), "Sappy," "Lithium," "Here She Comes Now" (released on Velvet Underground Tribute Album: Heaven and Hell Volume 1) and "Polly." The band added two tracks from Bleach to the tape and used the recording to shop for a new label. Within a few months, the demo tape was circulating among major labels, creating a buzz around the group. The band would eventually sign ...


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Spotlight Exhibit: 2-Tone Records

Tuesday, December 4: 5 a.m.
2 Tone is the focus of new Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

In this post, Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger, who traveled to the UK to collect and research for a new 2-Tone Records exhibit, shares background on the label and its lasting impact on popular culture.

Between 1979 and 1986, the 2-Tone label released 28 singles – 20 of which charted in the U.K. – including hits by the Specials, the Selecter, Madness, the Bodysnatchers and the Beat (known as the English Beat outside of the U.K.). Although only the English Beat –and to a lesser extent, Madness – ever had much success outside of the U.K., the 2-Tone movement combined infectious dance music and progressive ideals to confront the status quo. 2-Tone laid the groundwork for the success of such American artists as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Toasters, Fishbone, Smash Mouth, Sublime, Reel Big Fish, the Pietasters and the multi-platinum selling No Doubt.

Two Tone record label exhibit reggae punk ska2-Tone was a group of black and white kids from Coventry, Birmingham and London, England – white punk rockers and black rude-boys and -girls who stood against the economic policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government and the Neo-Nazi National Front, promoted racial harmony through the irresistible and exuberant rhythm of ska music and revolutionized ...


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Interview with Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead

Saturday, October 27: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Lemmy Kilmister will perform at the 2012 American Music Masters concert honoring to Chuck Berry

Over four decades, Motörhead frontman Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister has registered an immeasurable impact on music history. He remains the living embodiment of the rock and roll lifestyle. Kilmister was born in England and got hooked on rock and roll at a young age. After playing guitar in many bands as a teenager, he moved to London in 1967 and worked as a roadie for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In 1971, he joined the band Hawkwind and switched to bass guitar, recording several classic albums including Space Ritual and Hall of the Mountain Grill. In 1975, he formed the groundbreaking metal band, Motörhead. They played with speed and volume unheard before in rock and roll. On albums like Bomber from 1979, and 1980's Ace of Spades, they established a model for what became thrash metal. Still, Kilmister has always kept classic first-generation rock and roll at the heart of his sound. In his work with rockabilly band the Head Cat, he has explored his rock and roll roots in fantastic versions of songs by Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Motörhead is still going strong, relasing The World is Yours in 2010 and touring ...


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Interview with Singer-Songwriter JD McPherson

Friday, October 26: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
JD McPherson will perform at the 2012 American Music Masters concert honoring to Chuck Berry

The work of visual artist, singer-songwriter, guitarist and Oklahoma-native JD McPherson channels his eclectic interests and creative gusto in a singular musical collage that takes a reverence for the past and wraps it in a decidedly forward-thinking motif. The art teacher turned rocker writes songs that reference 40s R&B and the sounds of 50s American rock and roll, pulling from the aesthetic of such record labels as Specialty, Vee-Jay and Del-Fi. Having played in a punk outfit and embracing a penchant for hip-hop, McPherson's retro melange bridges the divide among ostensibly disparate artists, from Ruth Brown to the Wu-Tang Clan, Elvis Presley to the Smiths, Jackie Wilson to Stiff Little Fingers. In 2010, McPherson released his solo debut, Signs & Signifiers, produced by Jimmy Sutton. Originally released on indie imprint Hi-Style Records, the album was re-released to a wider audience on Rounder Records in 2012. "Although I grew up wanting to be a visual artist, I'll tell you what: the most satisfaction I've ever had as an artist is right now," says McPherson. "Because as much as I love artists like Joseph Beuys, I love David Bowie and Little Richard more."

In this interview, JD McPherson ...


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