Testifying on the healing quality of the blues genre he embodied, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee B.B. King once remarked: “I’m trying to get people to see that we are our brother’s keeper. Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.”
On May 14, 2015, the world of music lost a true icon with the passing of King. Among the blues genre’s most recognizable and influential artists, his half-century of success owes much to his hard work as a touring musician who consistently logged between 200 and 300 shows a year. "B.B. King created a new kind of blues, and was a lifelong ambassador for the music," said Rock Hall VP of education Dr. Lauren Onkey. "He played constantly, all over the world, and taught generation after generation the power of the blues. His singing, single note solos and commanding vocal style made you feel every emotion in his songs."
Through it all, he remained faithful to the blues while keeping abreast of contemporary trends and deftly incorporating other favored forms - jazz and pop, for instance - into his musical overview. He managed to change with the changing ...
"Stevie Ray Vaughan is the ultimate guitar hero," proclaimed John Mayer as he inducted Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "[His playing] was as otherworldly as Hendrix, but where Hendrix was coming down from outer space, Stevie came up from below the ground. …Some flowers come up through the ground in full bloom. He was the ultimate guitar hero, and heroes live forever."
“He was a great guitar player,” Vaughan said, accepting the Hall of Fame honor on behalf of brother Stevie. “He could play beautiful, he could play mean and he could play fun. He could drag you along. …But what you heard with Stevie was his enthusiasm for everything. That’s why people love his music. …He loved playing guitar more than anybody I know.”
A who's who of axe slingers took the stage with the original members of Double Trouble to deliver blistering versions of two Stevie Ray Vaughan tracks: "Pride and Joy" and "Texas Flood;" and Jimmie Vaughan's tribute to his brother "Six Strings Down." The set kicked off with "Pride and Joy," as John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Doyle Bramhall and Jimmie Vaughan traded licks ...
2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee The Paul Butterfield Blues Band took the world by storm at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, expertly combining American rock and roll and the blues with Butterfield’s inspired harmonica and Mike Bloomfield’s explosive lead guitar. Their self-titled album released in 1965 and its follow-up, East-West in 1966, kicked open a door that brought a defining new edge to rock and roll. Here are my picks for essential Paul Butterfield Blues Band listening.
“Born in Chicago”
This is the opening song on their first album and immediately establishes the group as a part of long history of electric Chicago blues (in the tracks of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf). The song was written by friend and collaborator Nick Gravenites who would go on to pen many classic psychedelic blues tunes in the years to come.
“Our Love is Drifting”
A slow blues burner written by the band’s two guitarists Bloomfield and Bishop. While the solos are enough to knock your socks off don’t ignore the great melodic call and response between the vocal and the guitar in the verses.
While “Work Song” was originally written and recorded ...
“The soulful classics that Pastor Crouch created over the years have uplifted the hearts and minds of several generations and his timeless influence continues to be felt in not only gospel but a variety of music genres.” -President Barack Obama
When Pastor Andraé Crouch passed away in January 2015, the outpouring was remarkable. Artists, elected officials, community leaders and legions of fans flocked to pay tribute to the man known as the “father of modern gospel music.” The response was a testament to the impact of his music over the last 40 years. He created a body of work that drew on contemporary musical styles and sophisticated production to inspire his audience and spread the word of God.
Andraé Crouch and his twin sister Sandra were born in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1942. Their parents, Benjamin and Catherine, were very active in the Church of God in Christ. In 1951, they moved to the San Fernando Valley, where Benjamin Crouch established Christ Memorial Church. Andraé began to play keyboards at age 11, which he attributed to his ...
The sheer emotional impact of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sparked my fascination. His squealing guitar effects depicting the incoming descent of bombs that were soon “bursting in air,” grabbed me, especially as intensified on film when Hendrix “lip synched” the resulting cries and screams. His performance makes the abstract so very human. For me Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem of August 18, 1969, remains atop the list of the most powerful performances of Francis Scott Key’s song ever created.
The Woodstock anthem gets even more interesting when compared with the other 40 or so surviving recordings of Hendrix performing the song. They reveal Hendrix’s artistic as well as political evolution and define the critical and patriotic extremes of his expression to place Woodstock firmly in the middle as a combination of both. Here's a look at five incredible Hendrix versions of "The Star Spangled Banner.' Want more Hendrix? Catch Mark Clague going deep on all-things Hendrix at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives on Wednesday, March 25, 2015!
Hendrix first references the anthem melody a year ...
After countless hours researching, interviewing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon and collecting for Paul Simon: Words and Music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum lead curator Craig Inciardi shares some of his favorite things in the new Paul Simon feature exhibit, which opened October 30, 2014.
1. Paul Simon's First Acoustic Guitar
All musicians get their start somewhere. On his 13th birthday, Paul Simon received his first guitar as a gift from his father Louis Simon, who was a musician. His father taught him a few chords and Simon quickly realized that many of the popular songs from the 1950s – the ones he was listening to – used the same chords and patterns. He and childhood friend Art Garfunkel began to write songs using those voicings. The first song they wrote using the Stadium brand acoustic guitar was called “The Girl for Me.”
2. Letter from Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon wrote this letter dated August 13, 1957, when he was attending summer camp in Bellport, New York. Art Garfunkel was at different summer camp in New Jersey, and it was a pivotal moment in their young lives. They had been singing ...
On October 26, 2013, a once-in-a-lifetime collection of musicians gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, for the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute to the Rolling Stones. That evening's concert at the Playhouse Square State Theater was anchored by a group of top flight musicians who have performed with the Rolling Stones over their 50-year career and contributed to shaping the band’s extraordinary sound.
Grammy Award-winning drummer Steve Jordan led the house band as musical director, assembling a group of critically-acclaimed musicians, including 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ian McLagan.
McLagan had played on the Rolling Stones' Some Girls album and toured with the group in 1978, 1981 and 1982.
Among the incredible performers sharing the stage with McLagan that night was the incomparable Bobby Keys, the legendary sax player for Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, B.B. King and others, including the Rolling Stones. Keys had been recording and touring with the Rolling Stones since 1970, appearing on Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup, Emotional Rescue and several live albums.
WATCH: In the clip below, Bobby Keys delivers a fiery solo during a jam on the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers cut ...
The Band, more than any other group, put rock and roll back in touch with its roots. With their ageless songs and solid grasp of musical idioms, the Band reached across the decades, making connections for a generation that was, as an era of violent cultural schisms wound down, in desperate search of them. They projected a sense of community in the turbulent late 60s and early 70s – a time when the fabric of community in the United States was fraying. Guitarist Robbie Robertson drew from history in his evocative, cinematic story–songs, and the vocal triumvirate of bassist Rick Danko, drummer Levon Helm and keyboardist Richard Manuel joined in rustic harmony and traded lines in rich, conversational exchanges. Multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson provided musical coloration in period styles that evoked everything from rural carnivals of the early 20th century to rock and roll revues of the 50s.
In an era of divisive politics, the Band produced music that crossed generational and historical borders. They did so with an ensemble brilliance borne of many years spent playing on the road.
Everything great about the Band can be found on "The Weight," the central piece of their 1968 debut, Music From Big ...