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Elton John: From the Classics to the Contemporary

Tuesday, March 25: 4:25 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Released in 1970, Elton John's second album contained one of his biggest hits, "Your Song."

Born Reginald Dwight in Middlesex, England, the future Elton John discovered his destiny early, tinkering with the piano as a tot of three. Teenager Reg won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music and studied there five years before signing on with Long John Baldry's band Bluesology in the mid 60s. Taking his name from Baldry and bandmate Elton Dean, Elton John left Baldry and teamed up with the man who would become his longtime writing partner, lyricist Bernie Taupin.

The sweetly sentimental "Your Song," John's 1970 breakthrough hit, was far from his first single. The 1968 dud "I've Been Loving You" was an ill-conceived attempt to capitalize on the popularity of big ballad singers like Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones; 1969's "Lady Samantha" didn't score either, but found John on the verge of discovering his artistic voice, and was covered by Three Dog Night. Since "Your Song," it's been full speed ahead, of course.

During a career spanning five decades, the Rocket Man has released more than 30 albums, and is one of the top-selling artists of all time, with more than 300 million records sold worldwide.

Sir Elton continues to influence ...


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Rock Hall partners with HBO's Treme show for American Music Masters week

Thursday, November 4: 9:41 a.m.
Actor Wendell Pierce will be the emcee at next week's American Music Masters tribute concert.

HBO's Treme debuted in April 2010, as I was starting to shape the Rock Hall's American Music Masters tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. As a fan of New Orleans music and David Simon's work on The Wire, I looked forward to the show but was skeptical that it could represent the music accurately.  I was blown away by how Simon made music part of the show's very narrative. Simon recruited some of the most important musicians in the city to play themselves, like Uncle Lionel Batiste of the Treme Brass Band, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, and one of our AMM honorees, Dave Bartholomew.  I was so impressed with what Simon created that I wanted it to be part of our project-- a contemporary, compelling depiction of the city post-Katrina, and as good an argument as there is for the power and longevity of New Orleans music.

Wendell Pierce, who stars in Treme as trumpet player Antoine Batiste, will be the emcee for our tribute concert on November 13th at the Palace Theatre. Wendell, a New Orleans native and current resident, has been a devoted activist in the rebuilding of the city since ...


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