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Interview with Marshall Chess

Monday, October 22: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Marshall Chess, son of Chess co-founder Leonard Chess, discusses the British Invasion

Brothers Leonard and Phil Chess were responsible for creating the preeminent blues label of the fifties and sixties. Polish immigrants who settled in Chicago, the brothers formed Aristocrat Records in 1947 before launching their eponymous label two years later. They assembled an unparalleled roster of blues, R&B and rock and roll artists, including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon, Etta James, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. While Phil focused on jazz, Leonard honed in on roots music, making Chess the greatest repository of blues music by the late Fifties. It was under Leonard's tutelage that Muddy Waters’ electric blues fomented a revolution that led directly to rock and roll in the person of Chuck Berry. 

The reach of the label's music extended far across the Atlantic, where a band of impressionable twentysomethings billing themselves as the Rolling Stones sought to emulate the hard-driving R&B sounds they heard on songs like Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied," Big Bill Broonzy's "Tell Me Baby" and Berry's "Around and Around" — all songs the group covered when Leonard's son Marshall Chess allowed the band to record at the label's 2120 South Michigan Avenue studio in ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Louie Louie"

Wednesday, December 14: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

The most notorious song in rock and roll history has been recorded hundreds of times: by surfers (the Beach Boys, the Pyramids), punks (the Stooges, Black Flag), British rockers (the Kinks, the Troggs) and marching bands (U.S.C. Trojans, Rice University Marching Owls). During the first half of the 1960s, it was probably played at more live events than the National Anthem. R&B artist Richard Berry (who sang lead on The Coasters' "Riot In Cell Block No. 9") wrote and recorded "Louie Louie" in 1956.The record came out a year later, was a West Coast hit, and died a natural death. A few years later after the Tacoma, Washington-based Wailers recorded it, "Louie Louie" entered the set lists of various Northwest bands. One was Portland, Oregon's Kingsmen, who recorded the song in 1963. What the Kingsmen thought was a rehearsal run-through was the performance issued on 45. That might explain singer Jack Ely's garbled reading. People heard in the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" what they wanted to hear – a song that just had to be dirty. Radio stations banned it, and sweaty- palmed juveniles made up their own lewd lyrics. Even the U.S. government ...


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Hall of Fame Series with Spooner Oldham

Friday, November 11: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Spooner Oldham

On November 2, 2011, Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham spoke with and performed for a sold-out audience in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Foster Theater. Oldham is a linchpin of Southern Soul and the Alabama sound, a fixture of famed Muscle Shoals and FAME studios, where his keyboard playing enlivened some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the past 50 years, including Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man," Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Together with singer-songwriter Dan Penn, Spooner contributed a number of classics to the canon of rock, co-writing "Cry Like a Baby" by the Box Tops, "It Tears Me Up" by Percy Sledge and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify. 

Born Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham in Center Star, Alabama, Oldham is one of rock's most in-demand players, appearing on records and tours with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young, in addition to newer act Drive-By Truckers. 

During his Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum director of education Jason Hanley, Oldham talked about ...


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