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2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Kiss Songs

Wednesday, April 9: 8:45 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Few bands short of the Beatles inspired more kids to play the guitar and drums than KISS. With their signature makeup, explosive stage show and anthems like “Rock And Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City,” they are the very personification of rock stars. Original members Peter Criss, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons came together in New York in 1972. While their first two records did not generate many sales, they quickly gained a national following for their bombastic, pyro-filled stage show. Their 1975 live album Alive! captured that energy and reached Number Nine on the charts, quickly making them one of the most popular bands of the 1970s – scoring countless hit singles, sold-out tours and appearing everywhere from comic books to lunch boxes to their very own TV movie. In 1977, KISS received a People’s Choice Award for the song “Beth.” Ace Frehley and Peter Criss left the band in the early 1980s to pursue solo careers, while KISS regrouped with a different lineup of musicians. Another major change was the group’s decision to take off their makeup for 1983’s Lick It Up. They continued to be a popular live draw, but in 1996 ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Rolling Stones, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Peter Gabriel Songs

Wednesday, April 9: 8 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Peter Gabriel’s influence is so widespread we may take it for granted. When the rest of rock was simplifying in the new wave days, the former Genesis frontman blended synthesizers and a signature gated drum sound with an emotional honesty learned from soul music to create a sensibility that would influence artists from U2 to Arcade Fire to Depeche Mode. With extraordinary ambition, Gabriel transitioned from cult artist to multimedia pop star to global rock icon. His WOMAD festival has been a 33-year laboratory for musical cross-pollination. His brilliant stage shows inspired U2’s and Flaming Lips’ and expanded the visual vocabulary of music videos with clips such as “Sledgehammer,” “Shock The Monkey” and “Big Time.” In addition, he wrote songs like “Don’t Give Up,” “Red Rain” and “In Your Eyes” that put heart and soul on the radio at a time when those values were in short supply. Four decades on as a solo artist, Gabriel continues to push the boundaries of popular music and challenge audiences across the globe.

Here are 5 essential Peter Gabriel songs:

"Solsbury Hill" (1977)

"Solsbury Hill" captured the emotions of Peter Garbiel's departure from Genesis. As tension built during Genesis ...


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2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Nirvana Songs

Wednesday, April 9: 8 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

It only takes one song to start a rock revolution. That trigger, in late 1991, was “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” an exhilarating blast of punk-rock confrontation by Nirvana, a scruffy trio from Seattle. “Teen Spirit,” its moshpit-party video and Nirvana’s kinetic live shows propelled their second album, Nevermind, to Number One and turned singer-guitarist-songwriter Kurt Cobain into the voice and conscience of an alternative-rock nation sick of hair metal and the conservative grip of the Reagan-Bush ‘80s. Founded by Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in the logging town of Aberdeen, Washington, Nirvana were underground stars when they made 1989’s Bleach with drummer Chad Channing. Moving from the indie Sub Pop label to Geffen, the band – with drummer Dave Grohl – packed Cobain’s corrosive riffs, emotionally acute writing and twin passions for the Beatles and post-punk bands like the Melvins and the Pixies into Nevermind. A multi-platinum seller, it included the hits “Come As You Are” and “Lithium” and opened the mainstream gates for Green Day, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins. In 1993, Nirvana released the caustic masterpiece, In Utero, and gave a historic performance on MTV’s Unplugged. But in April 1994, Cobain – suffering from drug addiction and ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Linda Ronstadt Songs

Tuesday, April 8: 8:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” the Everly Brothers' “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid 70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Rolling Stones, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Cat Stevens Songs

Tuesday, April 8: 8:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The musical odyssey of Cat Stevens is well documented, from teenage London art school songsmith (“The First Cut Is The Deepest,” the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes My Baby”) to introspective cornerstone of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Who can measure the courage it took him in the late 70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world? He left his touring and recording life behind and named himself Yusuf Islam. Inevitably, many longtime fans abandoned him, and he found certain international borders closed and worse yet, controversies on his doorstep despite his humanist background. It was 17 difficult years between his final LP as Cat Stevens (1978’s Back To Earth), and the first CD as Yusuf and more than a decade until his first pop album in nearly 30 years (An Other Cup in 2006). “When I accepted Islam,” he told Rolling Stone, “a lot of people couldn’t understand. To my fans it seemed that my entering Islam was the direct cause of me leaving the music business, so many people were upset. However, I ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

From Sam Cooke to Eric Clapton: 7 Degrees of "Danny Boy"

Monday, March 17: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Although it originated in Ireland, the tune and melody of "Londonderry Air" is known worldwide, its flowing cadence inextricably linked to Irish heritage. When English lawyer and songwriter Frederic Weatherly was introduced to the tune in 1913, he recast lyrics he'd previously penned to match the "Londonderry" melody, giving rise to "Danny Boy,"arguably the most celebrated version of the song.

For more than a century, the stirring folk ballad has been adapted by a diverse cast of performers, including various Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Here, we look at versions of "Danny Boy" by Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jackie Wilson, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eric Clapton.

Sam Cooke

Cooke cut a beautifully soul-infused version of "Danny Boy" for his 1958 self-titled debut album, adding a charismatic lilt to the arrangement.

Johnny Cash

Cash recorded a hauntingly solemn version of "Danny Boy" for his 1965 Columbia Records release Orange Blossom Special, an album that included various folk and country standards as interpreted by the incomparable Man in Black.

Jackie Wilson

Wilson, who could effortlessly transition from rock to blues to soul, transformed "Danny Boy" – reportedly one of his mother's favorite songs – in ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Fire and Rain"

Wednesday, March 12: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" is one of the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll

James Taylor's 1970 hit single, and the album that spawned it, Sweet Baby James, helped launch the singer/songwriter boom of the early 70s. "Fire And Rain" reflected the movement's best qualities: limpid acoustic guitars, soulful double bass and Carole King's rippling piano are the backdrop for a sorrowful lament for a "lost" friend. More folk than rock, the song nevertheless boasts a deceptively tough edge, thanks to Russ Kunkel's popping drums and Taylor's in-your-face misery. The singer/songwriter era was often criticized as a self-indulgent, whiny time, but the best efforts, such as "Fire And Rain," could be as compelling as the blues.  Though just 22 when he achieved fame, Taylor already had many reasons to sing the blues.

Watch James Taylor perform "Love the One You're With" with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills live at the 25th Anniversary Concerts!

The offspring of an affluent family with roots in both Boston and North Carolina, he'd been in and out of mental institutions and struggled with hard drugs. His first serious foray into music came with friend Danny Kortchmar in the group Flying Machine, mentioned in "Fire And Rain." His self-titled ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Today in Rock, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Oasis live at 1994 Glastonbury Festival

Tuesday, March 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Much change was afoot in mid 90s Great Britain. The political winds shifted from Thatcher to Blair and Brit Pop became the soundtrack to a reinvigorated sense of identity. On the heels of their debut album, Definitely Maybe, Oasis’ performance at Glastonbury affixed the band as the new musical center-point for a movement and helped kick-start new generation of U.K talent.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.

Get more of the story at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives!


continue Categories: Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Beatles, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances
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