The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


recording :: Blog

On her 81st birthday, Yoko Ono Opens Up in Interview

Tuesday, February 18: 12:50 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Yoko Ono

Although her relationship with John Lennon is often paramount in the rock world's esteem of her, Yoko Ono remains a pivotal figure in the evolution of conceptual art, challenging perceptions with avant-garde and experimental installations, music, fashion and more. For decades, Ono has also been a champion of peace and understanding, and a tireless activist: from the "Bed-ins for Peace" with husband John Lennon in 1969 that ultimately beget "Give Peace a Chance" to creating Artists Against Fracking in 2012 with her son, Sean Lennon, to protest the controversial drilling method.

On her 81st birthday, Yoko Ono opens up on her relationship with Paul McCartney, recording with members of the Beastie Boys, writing about and with her son Sean Lennon and celebrating her late husband's legacy. 

 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist back in 1994. Paul McCartney inducted him and read a letter to him, and you accepted the award. What was that like?

Yoko Ono: It was good, but it was a long time ago. I was very, very happy that John was inducted, and it was very sweet of Paul to ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, Today in Rock, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, History of Rock and Roll

Stories from the Birth of Rock and Roll with Sun Records’ The Miller Sisters

Monday, October 7: 5 p.m.
Posted by Hank Davis
The Miller Sisters: (l-r) Millie and Jo reunited after decades.

When Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins and I produced the three Bear Family Sun box sets that came out earlier this year, we were dealing with music history – and some pretty special history at that. For us, little was more important than Memphis music in the mid 1950s: the birth of rock & roll with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, and a host of seminal artists who cut their teeth at Sun Records.

We were faced with selecting the 250-plus tracks for each box set,choosing the photos and writing the liner notes. We were delving deep into rock and roll history, but there were also some opportunities to deal in the present tense. We could use the gala release event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to bring out of the shadows some of the less famous artists who were actually there when Sam Phillips was busy making music history in his tiny storefront studio on Union Avenue in Memphis.

There weren’t many chances. Most of the artists who had recorded for Sun during its Golden era were gone. But not all. The Miller Sisters recorded about a dozen titles ...


continue Categories: Elvis Presley, Hall of Fame, History of Rock and Roll

Collection Highlights at the Rock Hall Library and Archives

Monday, July 22: 2 p.m.
Posted by Ned Denby
Recordings for the "underground" from the KQRS collection includes early interview with Patti Smith

Since beginning my internship at the Library and Archives this summer, I've had the unique opportunity to process a number of collections, digitizing analog audio and video materials and organizing paper-based collections. Along the way, I've uncovered some real treasures. Here are some of my favorites:

The first collection I processed was the Jay Ruby Rock ‘n’ Roll Conference Lecture, an audio recording of the lecture, “'You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here': The Social Implications of Rock 'n' Roll,” given by the donor, Jay W. Ruby, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Conference at Mills College in 1967. I really enjoyed this lecture, because Ruby focuses on describing the musical communities of the time to an academic audience that may or may not have been familiar with them, going into detail about the connection between rock music and hallucinogenic drugs and religion.

I also processed the KQRS Collection, donated by Shel Danielson, a long-time disc jockey at the KQRS radio station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bulk of the collection consists of reel-to-reel recordings of commercials for concerts and albums that the station broadcasted from 1973 to 1976.  Some commercials exist in two versions: one that was broadcast ...


continue Categories: Library and Archives

At the Library and Archives: The Smith Tapes 1969-1972

Tuesday, April 23: 10 a.m.
Posted by Amanda Raab
(l-r) John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Howard Smith

Howard Smith was a man both on the scene and of the scene in late-1960s New York. As a photographer, columnist and broadcaster, Smith immersed himself in the emerging subculture of music and art while maintaining a keen journalist’s eye on the revolution happening around him. The interviews that comprise the set, The Smith Tapes 1969-1972, recently acquired by the Library and Archives, are raw, unedited recordings with those at the forefront of the hippie subculture as well as the era’s rock superstars, including John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman, Lou Reed, the authors of Hair, and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper talking about their new film Easy Rider

Within this compelling collection there are some true gems. A USB flash drive – cleverly housed in a replica audio cassette with faux-stained labels – contains a collection of reports from the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, where Smith describes both the serenity of the fans and the struggle of organizers amidst the rain and near-overwhelming crowds. On one of the final discs in the collection is a brief phone interview with Janis Joplin who, when questioned about the burgeoning women’s liberation movement, initially dismisses it but encourages women not to settle ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Library and Archives

Cleveland Soul: Interview with Lou Ragland

Wednesday, February 13: 2 p.m.
Posted by Carlo Wolff
Cleveland soul man Lou Ragland will appear live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Musician Lou Ragland was born in Cleveland in 1942. His first instrument was saxophone, his choice after rejecting his high school music teacher’s suggestion he play tuba. Inspired by everyone from Brahms to Nat “King” Cole to Ella Fitzgerald, Ragland locked onto soul at 13, when he heard Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing “Goody Goody.” 

In the early ‘60s, Ragland sang in the storied doo-wop group the Sahibs (along with Hesitations founder Art Blakey and current Hesitation George Hendricks, who taught Ragland rudimentary guitar). He first recorded with the Bandmasters, releasing “Never Let Me Go/Party in Lester’s” on Way Out in 1965. The group waxed that 45 at Cleveland Recording on Euclid Avenue. “The Bandmasters was the music and the Sahibs were the voices, and I sang lead, ” says Ragland, who also recorded for Way Out under the name Volcanic Eruption, with George Hendricks. 

“I was the first artist they produced on Way Out, but after they found out that I could engineer and play instruments, they didn’t do anymore on me,” says Ragland. “They didn’t want to lose me to the art world, they wanted me to pump out these songs.” Way Out ...


continue Categories: Exclusive Interviews, Education, Black History Month, Foster Theatre, Event

The Rock Hall's Library and Archives: Our First Year

Friday, February 1: 3 p.m.
Posted by Andy Leach
Rock Hall director of Library and Archives Andy Leach at the L&A's information desk

It’s hard to believe the Rock Hall’s new Library and Archives has already been open for a year. Ever since we first opened our doors to the public in January 2012, visitors of all kinds have been steadily flowing in to use our resources for their research and to expand their knowledge of rock and roll and its history.

During 2012, the Library and Archives welcomed nearly 4,000 visitors, many of whom conducted research using one-of-a-kind archival materials in our Archives Reading Room. Our visitors included scholars from around the country, students and teachers from local colleges and universities, authors, documentarians and music fans. The Library and Archives staff also handled more than 800 reference queries, most of which arrived via phone and e-mail.

Many notable people visited the Library and Archives during our first year, including Hall of Fame Inductees Ron Wood, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan of the Faces, Chuck Berry, Tom Constanten (Grateful Dead), and Glyn Johns; music writer Peter Guralnick; scholars Craig Werner, David Brackett, and Andy Flory; former National Endowment for the Arts Chairman John Frohnmeyer; Govinda Gallery founder and director Chris Murray; Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux; and Hank LoConti, owner ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Hall of Fame, Education, Austin City Limits, Library and Archives

Buddy Holly's Final Recordings

Thursday, January 31: 9 a.m.
Posted by Shelby Morrison
Buddy Holly fan club card, circa 1958

In June 1958, Buddy Holly met and fell in love with Maria Elena Santiago, a receptionist at Peer-Southern Music, Holly’s music publisher, in New York City. After proposing marriage on their first date, the two were married in Lubbock, Texas, in August. After their wedding, Buddy and Maria Elena Holly moved into an apartment at the Brevoort building, at 11 Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, on the site of a house once occupied by Mark Twain and just two blocks from Greenwich Village’s “beatnik” culture, which was in full swing by the late 1950s. 

Living in the Village, Holly and Maria Elena would spend hours wandering around the streets, frequenting intellectual hangouts such as the Bitter End and Café Bizarre. “Buddy loved those places,” Maria Elena remembered. “The strange clothes the people wore, the poetry readings, the way they talked to one another. He loved the freedom, the way everyone was allowed to do their thing.” More than anything, Holly was attracted to the music that would literally drift down the street – blues, jazz, folk, even flamenco music.  

Visit Buddy Holly exhibit at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to see rare Buddy Holly original suitBy the time the young couple had settled into their Manhattan apartment, Holly had set up a recording and publishing ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit

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 ...


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Education, Exclusive Interviews, Event
previous Page 2 of 3. next