The latest addition to the Library and Archives' Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives is the new Collection on Peter Laughner, Cleveland punk legend. In his short lifetime, Laughner co-founded both Rocket from the Tombs – a band described by writer Lester Bangs as "an amphetamine-driven blend of Velvets-Stooges" – and Pere Ubu, and was a contributing writer to rock magazines like Creem and an all-around gadfly of the Midwest and New York rock scenes. Journalist Richie Unterberger wrote of Laughner, "As a singer, songwriter, and performer in numerous Cleveland bands, he was probably the single biggest catalyst in the birth of Cleveland's alternative rock scene in the mid-'70s.
The Peter Laughner collection at the Library and Archives includes rare vinyl, ¼-inch and audiocassette recordings of Laughner solo and with his bands, as well as performances from his wife, poet Charlotte Pressler. Those keen on learning more about the 1970s Cleveland underground music scene will want to read Pressler's first-hand account in the issue of CLE Magazine, also included in the collection; while those interested in Laughner’s pre-punk career will want to take a look at the poster for his first band, a blues group called Mr. Charlie ...
On February 11, 2013, Robert Lockwood Jr.'s custom 12-string electric guitar was placed on permanent exhibit in the Roots of Rock and Roll galleries at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Lockwood Jr.'s widow, Mary Lockwood, joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in presenting the famed bluesman's unique guitar, which was his primary instrument until his death in 2006 at age 91.
Lockwood was taught to play the guitar by fabled songwriter and guitarist Robert Johnson, the first modern bluesman, and recorded as a solo artist for more than half a century. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the guitar Lockwood called "the most beautiful guitar I've ever seen" and why Lockwood was crowned the king of Cleveland blues.
For decades, love, in all its permutations, has proven among rock and roll's most powerful tonics. From blissful to bawdy, artists have regaled listeners with memorable tales of romance that have inspired and infuriated, giving the language of love a bold voice in the process.
Through February 17, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, is sharing the love with a special self-guided tour highlighting artifacts that relate rock's more romantic side. Visitors to the Rock Hall on February 14 will be treated to a special curator-led version of the tour, which covers the Beatles, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, U2 and more.
Among the artifacts featured are the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," written by Tony Asher and Brian Wilson, and appearing on 1966's Pet Sounds. Wilson originally disliked the opening line of the song, “I may not always love you,” feeling it was “too negative." After hearing the rest of Asher's lyrics, however, he changed his mind. “God Only Knows” was one of the first pop songs to use the word “god” in its title, and though he feared the worst, Wilson decided ...
Musician Lou Ragland was born in Cleveland in 1942. His first instrument was saxophone, his choice after rejecting his high school music teacher’s suggestion he play tuba. Inspired by everyone from Brahms to Nat “King” Cole to Ella Fitzgerald, Ragland locked onto soul at 13, when he heard Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing “Goody Goody.”
In the early ‘60s, Ragland sang in the storied doo-wop group the Sahibs (along with Hesitations founder Art Blakey and current Hesitation George Hendricks, who taught Ragland rudimentary guitar). He first recorded with the Bandmasters, releasing “Never Let Me Go/Party in Lester’s” on Way Out in 1965. The group waxed that 45 at Cleveland Recording on Euclid Avenue. “The Bandmasters was the music and the Sahibs were the voices, and I sang lead, ” says Ragland, who also recorded for Way Out under the name Volcanic Eruption, with George Hendricks.
“I was the first artist they produced on Way Out, but after they found out that I could engineer and play instruments, they didn’t do anymore on me,” says Ragland. “They didn’t want to lose me to the art world, they wanted me to pump out these songs.” Way Out ...
Akron’s Black Keys are guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer and producer Patrick Carney. The duo came together in 2001 and released its first album, The Big Come Up, in 2002. Besides traditional CDs or downloads, the Black Keys’ work has gained wide exposure in a number of different media, from film soundtracks to commercials to video games. Their 2010 album, Brothers, won three Grammys and was named Number Two on Rolling Stone magazine’s Best Albums of 2010 list. El Camino, released in 2011, peaked at Number Two on the Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for five Grammys.
On Sunday, February 10, 2013, the Black Keys took home three Grammy Awards, effectively sweeping the rock categories, winning Best Rock Album for El Camino and Best Rock Song for "Lonely Boy." Auerbach won for Producer of the Year. The Black Keys are among the artists featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Right Here, Right Now exhibit. On display are Carney's Ludwig Scotch Marching Bass Drum circa 1958, which is pictured in the artwork of The Big Come Up (left), as well as Auerbach's Maestro Model MFZ Fuzz effects ...
Cleveland has been a hive of live music for decades. The city experienced tremendous growth in the years following World War II and, with it, an explosion of live music venues. The core of this activity took place on the east side of the city, home to Cleveland’s African-American population. Clubs like the Music Box, the Tia Juana, Leo’s Casino and Gleason’s hosted the best jazz, blues and R&B performers the era had to offer. The economic prosperity of the time was mirrored in the pulsing entertainment scene.
Following this lively scene was postal worker Jimmy H. Baynes (July 12, 1922 – September 9, 2010), who supplemented his weekly paycheck through Baynes Foto Service at 2220 East 87th Street, primarily photographing local events in the African-American community. Though Baynes was not a trained photographer, the images he created over three decades, from the 1950s into the 1980s – whether they are of weddings, beauty competitions, burlesque shows or live music performances – provide an authentic and candid glimpse into African-American life, music and culture. Throughout the years, Baynes’ photographs appeared in Cleveland magazines and newspapers, such as the Call and Post.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and ...
While in Cleveland to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's 17th annual American Music Masters tribute to Chuck Berry, Rosie Flores talked backstage about her first introduction to the guitar and the artists who've influenced her as a guitarist and songwriter. Flores, a fixture in the Austin, Texas music scene who helped reintroduce rockabilly pioneers Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin on her aptly titled 1995 album Rockabilly Filly and released Working Girls Guitar in 2012, shares how various Rock Hall inductees – from Chuck Berry to Jeff Beck – and other artists influenced her playing and songwriting.
"As a musician and historian, I'm thrilled to see a friend, Greg Harris, named as President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," said Roots drummer, DJ, producer and journalist Questlove. "His store, the Philadelphia Record Exchange, was my home away from home, and most of my 70,000 plus vinyl records came from there."
On Monday, December 3, 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced that Gregory S. Harris, the Museum's VP of development since 2008, would be the organization's next president and CEO, successor to current Rock Hall president and CEO Terry Stewart. The transition will be effective January 1, 2013.
"I'm honored to be entrusted to lead the organization that preserves and presents this amazing art form for future generations,” said Harris. “Rock and roll is deeply rooted in our culture and when interpreted through a museum, provides a powerful forum to teach and inspire. Through Terry Stewart’s leadership, the staff has put this institution on solid ground. The Rock Hall is in the best shape ever, and I’m looking forward to a tremendous future.”
Earlier this year, current Rock and Roll Hall ...