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Rolling Stones :: Blog

The Rolling Stones on Tour – and Exhibit

Wednesday, April 3: 5 p.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
The Rolling Stones announce 2013 North American tour dates

Today the Rolling Stones announced their 2013 tour schedule (see below). Between that Rolling Stones news and the work the Curatorial, Exhibitions and Collections staff have been doing to get ready for Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction, a feature exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opening May 24, I've been immersed in the "world's greatest rock and roll band" for several months. Among other things, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit will highlight the Rolling Stones touring during the last half century, years of concerts that have made them one of the best – if not the best – live rock and roll acts in history.

I was lucky to grow up in Detroit, Michigan, at a time when music was everywhere and radio was vibrant and meaningful. That city produced so many extraordinary musicians – Hank Ballard, Jackie Wilson, the MC5, the Stooges, Bob Seger, the entire Motown roster – it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. Detroit gave rise to some of the genre's best. It was there I became captivated by the Rolling Stones. 

Keith Richards acoustic guitar in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Rolling Stone exhibitI first heard the group listening to CKLW, the legendary Canadian AM radio station. Detroit was also ...


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Album Notes: The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St.

Friday, March 8: 10 a.m.
Posted by Greg Harris
The Rolling Stones' 1972 release "Exile on Main St."

I was seven years old when Exile on Main St. was released in 1972. It wasn't until later in the decade that I first heard the album, though I was already a Rolling Stones fan by then. My earliest rock and roll mentors – friends and family, and musicians and writers that I admired – told me Exile was the Stones record to have, so I picked up a used, well-worn copy on vinyl. The dog-eared double LP jacket was ragged and looked like hell; long gone were the dozen postcards that came with the original packaging. However, the scratched wax delivered an electric sound. 

Those sounds – like my battered copy's packaging – were gritty, rough, perfectly unpolished. The album was filled with bravado, the songs seemingly shambolic, unrehearsed and the playlist was sprawling, with more than a dozen tracks. The Stones tapped into America's eclectic songbook, borrowing lines from country, blues, soul, swamp and the heyday of the rock and roll era – and it all sounded genuine. The recording of Exile was shrouded in mystique, a model of rebellion amid tales of wild decadence and hedonism at Nellcôte, the French mansion-cum-studio rented by Keith Richards. Even the ...


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Preview of "Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Wednesday, February 27: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Behind the scenes of the Rock Hall's new Rolling Stones exhibit, opening May 24, 2013

On May 24, 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will unveil a new, two-story retrospective exhibit titled "Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction." Among the artifacts to be included in the Rolling Stones exhibit is the original collage art design that would appear in the inner gatefold sleeve of the group's Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Their Satanic Majesties Request was a psychedelic response to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was released seven months prior to the Stones' effort in 1967. With psychedelia in full-swing, 1967 proved an eventful year for the Rolling Stones – most infamously following the arrests of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on drug charges following a police raid during a party at the latter's Redlands home in Sussex. Among those also in attendance, though not detained, was Richards' friend and photographer Michael Cooper. 

original album art for Rolling Stones Their Satanic Majesties RequestThroughout the Sixties, Cooper, a fixture on the London art and music scenes, captured many iconic images of artists, including the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Marianne Faithfull. However, arguably his most candid images came from his time with the Stones. (pictured, left: original collage art for Their Satanic Majesties ...


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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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Rock and Roll vs. Censorship

Thursday, August 23: 9 a.m.

Given the recent fervor over Russian feminist punk rock collective Pussy Riot's arrest and subsequent sentencing and incarceration after staging a performance art protest in a Russian Orthodox cathedral, the Rock Hall started thinking about how censorship has always been a hot button issue in rock and roll. What’s happening in Russia now is not terribly far removed from repressive reactions to the emergence of rock and roll in the 1950s, and reactions to various other manifestations of the artform throughout its history.

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich said this in her closing statement at the group’s trial: “On the one hand, we expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial.”

The National Coalition Against Censorship (with thanks to Eric Nuzum) notes these milestones in the infamous history of music censorship. Many of these milestones are covered in the Museum’s Don’t Knock the Rock exhibit, a video-driven exhibit about the protests against rock and roll ...


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Meshell Ndegeocello Live at the Rock Hall

Thursday, February 16: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Meshell Ndegeocello

Since her debut album in 1993, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Meshell Ndegeocello has been creating music on her own terms, simultaneously challenging and engaging listeners by deftly drawing from an eclectic songbook and delivering powerful reflections on race, love, sex, betrayal, power and religion. Her nine albums illustrate a creative versatility and singular aesthetic that has embraced everything from rock to hip hop, R&B to new wave, funk to punk, reggae to jazz. Her work has been met with critical accolades and fan acclaim, and her proficiency on the bass has brought her signature warm, fat, melodic groove not only to her own performances, but also to those of the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston and Chaka Khan. Ndegeocello best characterizes her particular brand of playing: "Genres are for commercial purposes and music is a continuum like everything else. My style is explorative, searching, personal, and it grows and changes as I do."

Born Michelle Johnson in Berlin, Germany, Ndegeocello spent her formative years in Virginia, cultivating her musicality during the late Eighties while working the go-go circuit in Washington, D.C. In the ...


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A Salute to Etta James

Friday, January 20: 12:05 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Etta James

Etta James was a pioneer. Through a career that spanned more than six decades, James' raw, unharnessed voice crossed genres, with Fifties hits such as "The Wallflower" and "Good Rockin' Daddy" cementing her role in the genesis of rock and roll alongside Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Little Richard, and her soulful pop and blues explorations of the Sixties ranking with the works of Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday. She continued to make her mark through 2011, with a string of award-winning, critically acclaimed releases that showcased her unique style.

James was born Jamesette Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Although brought up in the church singing in the gospel choir, she was drawn to rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, and by her mid-teens had formed a vocal trio named the Creolettes that worked up an answer song to Hank Ballard’s “Work With Me Annie” entitled “Roll With Me Henry.” The trio caught the attention of bandleader Johnny Otis, who arranged for the group to record “Roll With Me Henry” (retitled as “The Wallflower”) for Modern Records. Released with the group renamed the Peaches, "The Wallflower" topped the R&B chart for four weeks in 1955 ...


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