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Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." 30th Anniversary

Wednesday, June 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." turns 30

Released in June 1984, Born in the U.S.A. remains among the best-selling albums in rock and roll history, with seven Top 10 hits that sent 1999 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Springsteen's rock stardom into the stratosphere. Its narrative tone had much in common with 1982's stark, somber and critically lauded Nebraska, with many of the songs that comprised Born in the U.S.A. beginning life in the same sessions that produced that album. The root influences of blues, American folk songs and the new cinematic style of directors such as Martin Scorsese and Terrence Malick brought a darker and more introspective view to the characters. “I’m on Fire,” for example, was a song of desire, compulsion and personal struggle that became a Top 10 hit in 1985, despite its intense subject matter.

However, Born in the U.S.A. also traded in more nostalgic storytelling and tongue-in-cheek humor on tracks like "Glory Days" and "Dancing in the Dark" – all of which proved especially resonant with audiences around the country. Thanks in no small part to 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the E Street Band, the arrangements were ...


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

Folk-rock findings at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives

Tuesday, June 3: 5 p.m.

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives about my books on 1960s folk-rock. Most of it was centered around rare film clips, but I was also asked to talk a bit about the research I’ve done at the library over the past two weeks (thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation). This is for the expanded ebook edition of my two-volume work on 1960s folk-rock, Turn! Turn! Turn! (published as a print edition in 2002) and Eight Miles High (published as a print edition in 2003), which I’m combining into a single ebook, Jingle Jangle Morning: Folk-Rock in the 1960s.

It would take many hours and many pages to cover all of the material I’ve discovered at the library. So I used just a few images to illustrate how rare items could shed some light on folk-rock’s history, even after having written about it for 600 pages in the print editions. All of these are taken from ads that appeared between 1965 and 1967 in Cash Box, the biggest music trade magazine besides Billboard, but (unlike Billboard) very hard to find copies of these ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Bob Dylan, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Library and Archives

Banned, "Dirty Water" and Punk: Interview with the Standells

Thursday, May 15: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Standells' "Dirty Water" banned in Boston.

With songs like "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "Why Pick on Me" and "Riot on the Sunset Strip," the Standells brand of cranked-up garage rock in the 60s earned them a reputation as among the godfathers of punk rock. The fact their music has been covered by the likes of Aerosmith, Minor Threat, Bruce Springsteen and U2 – not too mention a litany of punk acts emerging in 1977 – illustrates that their knack for punchy hooks has engendered them to musicians and fans alike.

With an instantly recognizable-and easy to play-guitar intro, "Dirty Water" became a garage band staple in 1966. Onetime Four Preps member Ed Cobb wrote the song, but the Los Angeles–based Standells version recorded in a  garage studio in southern California turned it into a growling classic. Once squeaky-clean, the Standells went proto-punk in a bid to glom onto the bad-boy image of British groups like the Rolling Stones and the Animals. Drummer/vocalist Dick Dodd (a former Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer) sneered his way through this tale of unrequited lust and of vitriol aimed at Boston. That city retaliated by banning "Dirty Water," which didn't hurt sales. The canny Standells went on to ...


continue Categories: History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Rolling Stones, Exclusive Interviews

Staples of American Music: Mavis Staples and "I'll Take You There"

Tuesday, April 29: 1 p.m.
Posted by Greg Kot
Author Greg Kot will present and do a short reading from his most recent book, I’ll Take You There.

The song was there amid the highs and lows of the top 40, tucked among "Kung Fu Fighting," "Me and Mrs. Jones," "Maggie May," and countless other 70s one-offs, novelties and classics. The Staple Singers’ "I’ll Take You There" was in the air, like oxygen. Years after I first heard it in my parents’ kitchen on a transistor radio, it always seemed to be part of my life – I would find myself humming the bass line while waiting for an elevator or muttering "Ain’t no smiling faces" as I walked down a downtown Chicago street at rush hour. A few decades later, after hearing the song dozens if not hundreds of times, it dawned on me: There are only about five lines of verse in the entire song, spanning more than 4 minutes. The rest is just a magic act between the band (the Muscle Shoals rhythm section) and Mavis Staples, backed by her family.

In interviewing the people in the studio when "I’ll Take You There" was recorded, they all still sound in awe of what happened that day.

"The ‘I’ll Take You There’ session rates as high as any we ever did," guitarist Jimmie ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Event, Rolling Stones, Hall of Fame, Library and Archives

The Top 10 Concert Festival Moments in Rock and Roll History

Wednesday, April 23: 6 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

In March 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum invited fans around the globe to vote for the greatest festival moments in the history of rock and roll. Thousands of votes were cast, and when the results were tallied, a Top 10 emerged. Here are those amazing festival moments, from Newport Folk to Woodstock, Monterey Pop to Lollapalooza; from Bob Dylan to Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters to Nine Inch Nails.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, opens a new feature exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience, on April 25, 2014.


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, History of the Blues, History of Rock and Roll, Exhibit, Inductee

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Wishin' and Hopin'"

Wednesday, April 16: 5:04 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Dusty Springfield's "Wishin' and Hopin'" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

A powerful, smoky voice that ran the emotional gamut from cool sophistication to simmering passion, Dusty Springfield has been cited as "one of the five mighty pop divas of the Sixties," placing her in the rarified company of Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Martha Reeves. No less an authority than Berry Gordy credits her for helping the Motown sound take root in the U.K. Smitten by the soulful sounds coming out of Detroit, Springfield actually introduced the British public to Motown’s caravan of stars as the host of a 1965 TV special, while her solo work interpreted "the Sound of Young America" as a cool, poised vocal outpouring that reflected her British upbringing. Springfield immediately connected as a solo artist with 1964’s “I Only Want to Be with You.” The song made it into the British Top 10 and hit Number 12 in the U.S., making her the second British act after the Beatles to score a stateside pop hit. She became known as a British interpreter of American songwriters such as Randy Newman, Jerry Ragavoy, Gerry Goffin and Carole King and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. One of those memorable hits was "Wishin ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, History of Rock and Roll, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Peter Gabriel: Back to Front in Theaters Nationwide

Wednesday, April 16: 1:41 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Peter Gabriel

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Peter Gabriel is coming back to the US for a special concert event – this time at a cinema near you.

Captured live in October 2013 at London’s famed arena, The O2, Peter Gabriel: Back to Front showcases the recent Hall of Fame Inductee and one of the most innovative artists of modern times, and will screen in theaters nationwide. The performance reunites Gabriel with his original touring band from 1986 to cover his most well-known hits, including “Solsbury Hill,” “Digging in the Dirt,” “Sledgehammer,” “Mercy Street” and “Don’t Give Up.”

“It has been wonderful working with [director] Hamish Hamilton again and his very talented team,” said Gabriel of the film. “I feel they have really caught what was unique about the ‘Back to Front’ tour, both visually and emotionally. My own sound crew has also done a brilliant job.”

Peter Gabriel Back to Front Movie Theater times
The film event comes just weeks after Gabriel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Chris Martin of Coldplay during the April 10, 2014 ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. “I’d like to read from the Book of Genesis,” Martin ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Event

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
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