This week, millions of music fans, pop culture mavens and dedicated viewers tuned in to the star-studded 2015 Grammy Awards. Over the course of more than three hours, the ceremony offered up a whirlwind of performances – nearly two dozen, in fact – and there were a handful of awards presented, some to Kanye West's chagrin. Throughout it all, there were many Rock and Roll Hall of Fame connections. Did you catch them all?
AC/DC Goes Down a "Highway to Hell"
Although Aussie rockers AC/DC have taken their unmistakable, hard-charging, loud and fiery brand of music-making around the world for more than 40 years, it was the 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees first time on the Grammy stage. The group opened with new track "Rock or Bust" before segueing into classic rock anthem "Highway to Hell" – the same song they played at their 2003 Hall of Fame Induction. Other familiar nods? Angus Young's signature school boy outfit, one of which is also featured in the Rock Hall's heavy metal exhibit alongside the handwritten lyrics to "Highway to Hell."
Hozier and Annie Lennox cover Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You"
Irish songwriter ...
The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, revered Little Willie John, having opened shows for John early on and later recorded an entire album of his tunes, the 1968 tribute Thinking About Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things. Brown was just but one of many artists of the day who were influenced by John's gospel-charged R&B sound. The likes of Hall of Fame Inductees Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Al Green all noted a musical debt to the man behind "Fever," and hits including "Sleep," "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" and "Leave My Kitten Alone" – the latter an early Beatles fave.
Spending his formative years raised in Detroit, Michigan, Little Willie John's stature belied his powerful voice. Signed to Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records in 1955, John cut the haunting, sultry "Fever" in 1956 at the tender age of 18. His smooth style presaged soul music. His delivery was passionate and dramatic, which paired with his melding of styles proved the perfect foil to such evocative lyricism.
Sadly, this polished, passionate artist suffered a sad fate: convicted of manslaughter in a post-gig fracas and sentenced to prison in 1966, he died under disputed circumstances ...
"Bye Bye Love" galvanized not one but three creative teams. Don and Phil Everly were floundering prior to this first hit single. "Bye Bye Love" was also the biggest hit to date for husband-and- wife songwriters Boudleaux and Felice Bryant. Last but not least, the pairing of the Bryants with the Everlys yielded a string of rock and roll pearls. The record's enormous success-Top Five on Billboard's country, pop, and R&B charts-followed a series of hurdles. Cadence, the Everlys' label, had rejected them once before but was giving the brothers a second chance. The Bryants' tune had been rejected by numerous artists before the Everlys got hold of it. Perhaps Don Everly's own guitar introduction made a difference; the brothers' close vocal harmonies were certainly new to a non-country audience. Not even a cover version by Webb Pierce-at that time the kiss of death for a country song's original recording-could slow the Everlys' million sales, as "Bye Bye Love" leapt across musical borderlines. The brothers went from tent shows to The Ed Sullivan Show; the era's top vocal duo was off and running.
The Everlys' third hit was their first ballad single. If their ...
Preaching a gospel of tolerance set against a heady genre-blending groove, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Sly and the Family Stone were the integrated multi-gender Pied Pipers of the Woodstock generation. The group's message – and inimitable synthesizing of rock, soul, R&B, funk and psychedelia into a danceable music – helped bring diverse audiences together, with their greatest triumph coming at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. During their unforgettable nighttime set, leader Sly Stone initiated a fevered call-and-response with the audience of 400,000–plus during an electrifying version of “I Want to Take You Higher.” Voters around the world ranked that moment as one of the greatest festival moments of all time, and it is included in the Rock Hall's feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience.
The group connected with the rising counterculture by means of songs that addressed issues of personal pride and liberation in the context of driving, insistent and sunny-tempered music that fused rock and soul, creating a template for 70s funk. As proof that they were reaching a rainbow coalition among the young, Sly and the Family Stone dominated the late 60s charts with such essential singles as “Dance to ...
Backed by fellow Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductees Booker T. & the MG’s, Otis Redding put on a devastating set of soul music, some of the finest of its day. Redding was riding a wave of success at the time, but he was known primarily to African-American audiences. Monterey put him in front of the largest white audience of his career to date, and the crowd went crazy. Redding died just six months later, and the performance we have now captured on the Monterey Pop film is one of the high water marks of his career.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music ...
Taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Wattstax was organized by Memphis-based Stax Records as a way to recognize the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots. Isaac Hayes' set began with him being driven to the stage in a gold station wagon as the emcee, Jessie Jackson, hyped the crowd. The band played the “Theme from Shaft” as Hayes walked on stage in a hood and cloak. Hayes threw the cloak off revealing his bare chest covered in a vest of gold chains. And that’s all before he sang a single note! The performance that followed was perfect hot buttered soul.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the ...
Sly and the Family Stone were the virtual embodiment of the Woodstock Nation: integrated, soulful and funky. Even with several hit records behind them, the audience wasn’t prepared for the funk-driven soul revue laid down by the Family Stone. Few, if any, white audience members had ever experienced anything like their showmanship. Sly and the Family Stone rewrote the book on performance.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.
Debates about the predominance of singer over song (or vice versa) reign eternal. The Temptations' "My Girl" makes a case for the song. It has one of the most memorable melodies of the rock era, one of Smokey Robinson's most memorable lyrics, and a choral structure that could serve any harmony group from early-1950s doo-woppers to Boyz II Men. Here, meaning comes just as much from atmospheric production and arrangement (also by Robinson, with fellow Miracle Ronnie White) as it does from the song itself. The sound has the ozone-intoxicated feeling you get after a summer thunderstorm. Bass and guitar parts – particularly that unforgettable intro – rank with the era's most exquisite, and also set up the declamatory crooning of lead vocal. Perhaps the most thrilling moment comes with the soaring bridge: strings and guitar shimmer against the Temptations' hey hey hey, out of which Ruffin emerges with a swooping yet understated oooh yeah. The offhanded ejaculation gives the rest of the lyrics' romanticism complete credibility.
The Temptations are among the artists featured in the Detroit section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sound exhibit, part of the Museum's permanent collection.