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The Universal Sound of Protest

Thursday, October 13: 9:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
"World Have Your Say" host Ros Atkins asks, "Has protest music disappeared?"

This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was honored to host an international discussion when BBC World Service's World Have Your Say broadcast live from the Museum's Alan Freed Studio. The program brought together a diverse panel of guests, including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President and CEO Terry Stewart and Rock Hall Vice President of Education and Public Programs Lauren Onkey, who traded insights with remote guests English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, Egyptian rapper and poet Mohamed El Deeb, Yoko Ono and more. Host Ros Atkins posed the question that fueled the program's discussion: Has protest music disappeared?

"We had a spirited discussion about whether music can bring about social change," says Onkey. "It's a difficult thing to measure. The easy thing to do is to pull out a topical song, like an anti-war or anti-apartheid song, and measure it against whether or not something changed about that specific issue. But I think that change is harder to measure, and much broader and sometimes more subtle than that. 

"Songs can educate us about an issue or a point of view from the past – The Specials' "Ghost Town," Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ...


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The Fabulous Girl Groups

Wednesday, October 12: 12:08 p.m.
The Ronettes

"The Fabulous Girl Groups" is the third installment in a special series that highlights the evolution of women in music by placing their accomplishments, inspirations and influence in the context of the eras that shaped their sounds and messages. "America's Foremothers" introduced the series, and "Pioneers of Rock" was the second feature.

The roots of the girl-group era date back to 1956, the year when a vocal group called Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers lit up the charts with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Mary Wilson of the Supremes remembers that many girls around her neighborhood weren’t content just to listen to Frankie Lymon sing on their transistor radios – they wanted to be Frankie Lymon. Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes auditioned for her future producer and husband, Phil Spector, by singing “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” when they met in 1962.

The first real girl-group hit was the Bobbettes’ “Mr. Lee,” which reached Number Six in August 1957, just a month before nine African-American kids had to be escorted by the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to desegregate their high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1958, as Swedish diplomat Agda Rossel became ...


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