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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

Amy Winehouse Live at 2007 South by Southwest Festival

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

Amy Winehouse was already a household name in her native England when she performed her first U.S. showcase gigs at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas. Winehouse more than lived up to her hype and garnered rave reviews for being over-the-top in every way –from her quirky retro look to her extraordinary vocal maturity and musical prowess.

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: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rare Performances, History of Rock and Roll, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Exhibit

Nine Inch Nails Live at 1994 Woodstock Music & Art Fair

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

Nine Inch Nails had been building its reputation in the industrial music scene since 1988, but with the release of their second full album, The Downward Spiral, in March 1994, the band was poised to take its intense sound to a wider audience. Their aggressive and sometimes haunting evening performance at Woodstock in 1994 was groundbreaking. It had been raining most of the day and the band decided to use the mud that filled the field as part of their show – coating themselves and their equipment in it along with the audience.  The fact that entire thing was broadcast to a pay-per-view audience helped to push them into worldwide mainstream success.

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 ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Hall of Fame, Celebrity Sighting, Rare Performances

Isaac Hayes Live at Wattstax 1972

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

Taking place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Wattstax was organized by Memphis-based Stax Records as a way to recognize the seventh anniversary of the Watts Riots. Isaac Hayes' set began with him being driven to the stage in a gold station wagon as the emcee, Jessie Jackson, hyped the crowd. The band played the “Theme from Shaft” as Hayes walked on stage in a hood and cloak. Hayes threw the cloak off revealing his bare chest covered in a vest of gold chains. And that’s all before he sang a single note! The performance that followed was perfect hot buttered soul.

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 ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of the Blues, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Big Brother and the Holding Company at 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival

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

Big Brother and the Holding Company’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival was so powerful, the festival organizers hastily provided a second performing slot for the band to ensure it was captured by D.A. Pennebaker’s film crew. Janis Joplin’s performance of “Ball and Chain” was a small part of the energy and power of that performance but it was a major part of helping them to get signed to Columbia Records later that year. Crowd shots in the film show established artists such as  staring in jaw-dropping wonder as Joplin delivered a blues-soaked performance.  

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 ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances

Sly and the Family Stone Live at 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair

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

Sly and the Family Stone were the virtual embodiment of the Woodstock Nation: integrated, soulful and funky. Even with several hit records behind them, the audience wasn’t prepared for the funk-driven soul revue laid down by the Family Stone. Few, if any, white audience members had ever experienced anything like their showmanship. Sly and the Family Stone rewrote the book on performance.

Sly and the Family Stone Live at Woodstock 1969The 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: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Rare Performances
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