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A Rare Moment with the Late Paul Kantner

Monday, February 15: 4:20 a.m.
Posted by Anastasia Karel

Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane RIP

A fan has left a rose at the entrance of 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco, where Jefferson Airplane once lived, in acknowledgment of Paul Kantner's death. / photo by Richie Unterberger

I felt like a part of my San Francisco died when I heard the news of Paul Kantner’s passing. For fans like myself who so profoundly identify with certain music and musicians, it feels like we are losing part of ourselves each time one of our heroes passes away.
 
I discovered Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Jefferson Airplane when I was a senior in high school and a classmate shared a boxset of their music – Jefferson Airplane Loves You. As a teenager, it was perhaps my first taste of psychedelia and the counterculture. I went on to study the history of the Summer of Love as an American Studies major in college. When I was 22, my parents took me to San Francisco, and I actually wore flowers in my hair.

Several years later I found myself with a job at UC Berkeley, and I made regular pilgrimages across the bay to see Richie Unterberger give presentations on rare rock films at the Haight-Ashbury branch ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Grateful Dead, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Sam Cooke's magnum opus "A Change Is Gonna Come"

Tuesday, February 9: 4:21 p.m.

the story of Sam Cooke "A Change Is Gonna Come" Rock and Roll Hall of Fame music history

Without a doubt, Sam Cooke was one of the most influential performers in the history of American popular music. His work cut across the genres of gospel, R&B and pop, and Cooke is credited as being one of soul music’s primary architects. 

Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1931, and his family moved to Chicago when Cooke was a toddler. He started singing in the church, and joined the most popular gospel group in the country, the Soul Stirrers, when he was still a teenager. His career with the Soul Stirrers was enough to secure his place in the annals of music history, but his ambition and talent would take him much further.

With the release of “You Send Me” in 1957, Cooke embarked upon a career in secular music that transcended the boundaries of R&B and pop. He was a pioneering figure in African-American entrepreneurship, gaining remarkable artistic control of his music and the business surrounding it. Recognizing the importance of owning publishing rights to music, he founded his own record label, SAR, with J.W. Alexander and Roy Crain in 1961, despite being courted aggressively by the leading record labels of the day. He ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event

Fan Picks: Old School Beastie Boys!

Friday, January 29: 10:45 a.m.
Posted by Rachel Keck

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Beastie Boys exhibit in Cleveland

As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland unveils its new Beastie Boys collection, we sat down with Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger to find out why curating this exhibit was personal.

RRHOF: Do you remember the first time you heard the Beastie Boys?

MR: I lived in New York City in the late 70s and early 80s. I worked at a record store and one day when I went to work there was this crazy thing on the turntable that was somebody prank calling a Carvel store and then it turned into this rap song. And [the song] kept repeating –"Cookie Puss, Cookie Puss" - which was the tasty treat that Carvel ice cream stores made. I immediately had to find out what this record was because it was just so funny, and it turned out it was the Beastie Boys. I fell in love. I was like, "Who are these kids?! This is so genius!"

So curating the new Beastie Boys exhibit at the Rock Hall must have been a trip down memory lane...

This is really the first time that I've worked on an exhibit with an artist that I've watched from the very ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock: The Eagles' "Take It Easy"

Thursday, January 21: 2:52 p.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Glenn Frey live concert photograph RIP

Photo: Glenn Frey, ca. 1994, photographer unknown. From the Jeff Gold Collection at the Rock Hall's Library & Archives.

It's been a rough start to 2016 for rock fans mourning the loss of two Hall of Fame Inductees: David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Tributes have poured in from around the globe, a testament to the lasting impact and widespread influence of the music each created. Last week, we looked back on some of the David Bowie songs that shaped rock and roll, and this week it's only fitting we rewind to one of the Eagles' most enduring hits: "Take It Easy."

Guitarist Glenn Frey was a rocker from Detroit who headed to Los Angeles, where he befriended fellow musicians Jackson Browne and John David Souther. Drummer Don Henley and Frey met while backing Linda Ronstadt. Guitarist Bernie Leadon had previously done time with Gram Parsons and  Chris Hillman in the Flying Burrito Brothers; bassist Randy Meisner was a founding  member of Poco with Richie Furay and had played in Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band.  And they had all played together on Ronstadt's Silk Purse. No wonder they sounded accomplished from the get-go.

Decades later, in 2014 ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Rare Performances

The Fabulous Friendship of David Bowie and Jane Scott

Wednesday, January 20: 5:44 p.m.
Posted by Anastasia Karel

autographed David Bowie photo with Cleveland Jane Scott Plain Dealer reporter

Pictured: Jane Scott with David Bowie in the late 70s during one of his Isolar tour stops. Did you see him perform on the Isolar or Isolar II tours?

I’m an archivist at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives. I'm also a diehard music fan and collector. Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite – I've seen him in concert 60 times – but David Bowie was the first artist that I collected on vinyl. I believe that Bowie is one of those artists whose work should be owned in its original format, if only because of the cover art and sense that you're holding a piece of history. Unfortunately, I never saw Bowie in concert and didn't dive into his entire catalog as so many fans did, and yet, now that he is gone, I realize just how much he was a presence in my life.  And this week, it just so happened that my job created a collision of Bowie, Cleveland, and women in rock journalism.

My days involve a fair amount of detective work, such as forming connections between documents to describe a moment in rock history. One collection that will provide endless opportunities ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Library and Archives, History of Rock and Roll, Exhibit

The Surprising Stories Behind Four Bowie Classics

Monday, January 11: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

David Bowie Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Most Popular David Bowie Songs

It's rare to talk of an artist truly being without equal, but that's exactly who David Bowie was. A remarkable visionary, Bowie was a font of wild creativity, a transformative presence constantly evolving to address and help define our times. His art entertained, challenged and enlightened us all - and that will be an enduring legacy celebrated for many generations to come.

With tributes to the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee powering in from around the world, we take a look at the stories behind four classic David Bowie songs and fan favorites: "Fame," "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Ziggy Stardust."

David Bowie Young Americans album the story of David Bowie's "Fame" recording

David Bowie and John Lennon Break into "Fame" ... and Lennon Forgets It

Two weeks after finishing the mix on a David Bowie album called The Gouster, one of the producers, Tony Visconti, got a call from the artist: "David phoned to say that he and John Lennon had got together one night and recorded this song called "Fame." I hope you don't mind, Tony, but it was so spontaneous and spur of the moment... He was very apologetic and nice about it, and he said he hoped I wouldn't mind...I said that it ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event

Madonna Shares Wild Story of First David Bowie Concert

Monday, January 11: 12:52 p.m.
Posted by Madonna

Madonna inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 speech and video

Before I saw David Bowie live, I was just your normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest, and he has truly changed my life.

I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to David Bowie, not just because I grew up with his music, but it’s because it was the first rock concert that I ever saw, and it was a major event in my life. I planned for months to go and see it. I was 15 years old, it was the end of the school year, and leading up to the week of the show, I begged my father and he said, “I absolutely refuse, over my dead body, you’re not going there, that’s where horrible people hang out,” so of course I had to go. So my best friend spent the night at my house and when we thought everyone was asleep, we snuck out of my window, which was no mean feat, as I was wearing my highest platform shoes and a long black-silk cape. Don’t ask.

We couldn’t drive, so we hitch-hiked into Detroit and I don’t know who was scarier ... the drivers that picked us up, or us in ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews

Talking Heads' David Byrne Reflects on Music of David Bowie

Monday, January 11: 12:35 p.m.
Posted by David Byrne

David Byrne of Talking Heads Inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996

When David Bowie came along, well, rock and roll needed a shot in the arm and when I first saw him it was a shock, and yet it was very familiar. It was very necessary. It was something that was needed. It was essential. And like all rock and roll, it was tasteless, it was glamorous, it was perverse, it was fun, it was crass, it was sexy, it was confusing. And like all rock and roll, it was freedom, it was pain, it was liberation, it was genocide, it was hope, it was dread, it was a dream and it was a nightmare.

It was about sex and drugs, it was about combining literature with rock and roll, with art, with anything you could name. It was about sex as an idea, and sex as a reality, and sex as a liberating force. It was about rebellion, it was about rebellion as a cliché, it was rebellion as an idea. It was about rebellion as a billboard, as an advertisement. It was about the joy of reckless prophecy. It was ironic when rock and roll became self-reverential. It was about joy and terror and confusion in our lives. It ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews
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