The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


recording :: Blog

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

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 ...


continue Categories: Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

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 ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Exclusive Interviews, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Education, Foster Theatre
previous Page 2 of 2.