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From Apollo Theater to Hall of Fame with Smokey Robinson

Tuesday, November 3: 4:25 p.m.
Posted by Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1987

In this interview, 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Smokey Robinson reflects on first time at the Apollo Theater and being inducted to the Hall of Fame. Don't miss the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute concert to Smokey Robinson on Saturday, November 7, 2015.

Wow, to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was such a surprise to me, it was such an honor, such a joyful time for me.

I believe, if I'm not mistaken, I was inducted on the second induction [in 1987]. The first induction was Elvis Presley and, oh gosh, Little Richard [in 1986]. But I never thought that I would be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It just was something that I said, "Oh wow, this is great."

And they started the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And it's like a dream. It's like you have this thought that you'd like to be there. You'd love to be recognized like that. It's like when the Miracles and I first went to the Apollo Theater, ever. It was our first really professional date.

We had never really been too ...

continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Inductee, American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews

Backstage at the Beatles 1964 Concert in Cleveland

Monday, October 26: 12:45 p.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

Photographer George Shuba The Beatles 1964 concert in Cleveland police

"It took an iconic radio station, WHK, and an anglophile disc jockey, Ron Britton, to bring what is arguably the most popular British rock group ever, the Beatles, to Cleveland, Ohio, the 'Home of Rock and Roll,'" says Lynn Jones, who was a young boy when the Fab Four made their concert debut in Cleveland. "On September 15, 1964, the Cleveland rock and roll world exploded, first on Public Square when thousands gathered to wave up to the Beatles and Ron Britton as they waved back from open windows… and then, 'The Concert.'"

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr stayed at the Sheraton-Cleveland, which was surrounded by a police cordon given the fan fervor. Cunning Cleveland police used a riot van traveling between the concert venue, Cleveland's Public Hall, as a decoy. Adoring Beatles fans eventually caught on to the fact that the Fab Four were not in the van, but the group still managed to escape undetected from inside the hotel not long before showtime.

"Sitting with the WHK station managers, Ron’s wife Peach, my wife Ann, and sister Kathy," remembers Jones, "we watched from 40 feet away as screaming girls and women rushed ...

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What is the Smokey Robinson aesthetic?

Tuesday, October 20: 12 p.m.
Posted by David Ritz

Get details on the Rock Hall's weeklong Music Masters Tribute to Smokey Robinson!

Smokey Robinson Tribute Concert Rock Hall 2015 Music Masters event

Smokey Robinson is celebrated for two great and distinct contributions: his work as producer/composer and as a performer. Put these two elements together and you have the Smokey Robinson aesthetic, one of the most lyrical in the history of American pop music.

So, what is the Smokey Robinson aesthetic?

Its salient characteristics are sensitivity, sweetness and poetic invention. Both as writer and singer, Smokey is an unapologetic romantic, a man who trades in extravagant emotional expression. The signature Smokey sound carries a mesmerizing mixture of heartache and hunger, sensual pleasure and erotic longing.

Since he burst on the scene with his Miracles in 1957, he has elevated the art of R&B with a high soaring tenor that is an instrument of rare flexibility, a delicate reed of quiet beauty.

His impact was felt immediately on the artists he produced at Motown in the 60s – among others, Mary Wells, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes and Brenda Holloway. 

Smokey Robinson Tribute Concert Rock Hall 2015 Music Masters event Michael Jackson

Looking back at his pre-teen work, Michael Jackson said: “Smokey was one of the artists who influenced me most deeply. I studied his singing group, the Miracles ...

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Yoko Ono and U2 Unveil Moving John Lennon Tribute

Thursday, July 30: 5:18 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

This week marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon's deportation order being overturned by the United States government. To mark the occasion, Yoko Ono, Bono and the Edge of U2 were on hand for a ceremony on Ellis Island, where a giant tapestry depicting the island of Manhattan as a yellow submarine with a waving Lennon was unveiled. July 29 was declared John Lennon Day in NYC.

John Lennon United States Green Card 1976 New York City

“They let him stay, and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here,” said Bono during a series of remarks.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York in September 1971. When his temporary visa expired in February 1972, the Nixon administration sought to have him deported, using a 1968 conviction for marijuana possession as ammunition. After a years-long battle, Lennon finally won the right to stay in the United States in 1975, receiving his green card in 1976. That green card, pictured above, is among the items featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Beatles exhibit.

"He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell ...

continue Categories: The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll

A Salute to the Father of Modern Gospel: AndraƩ Crouch

Sunday, April 12: 9:16 a.m.

“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

Picture of gospel legend Andraé Crouch

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.

WATCH LIVE: Rock My Soul: A Gospel Music Celebration Honoring Andraé Crouch at 7:30pm ET on April 12, 2015!

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 ...

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You Better Believe Gospel Shaped Rock and Roll

Sunday, April 5: 10 a.m.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates gospel music every day at the Museum as one of the essential musical roots of rock and roll. Three gospel performers who have had a profound influence on popular music have been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Mahalia Jackson (pictured above), whose fervent contralto was one of the great voices of the 20th century; The Soul Stirrers, who brought gospel out of local churches to a national audience, setting the pace for gospel and pop vocal groups; and The Staple Singers, who landed gospel on the pop charts with songs that advanced the Civil Rights movement.

Gospel echoes throughout the history of rock and roll. We hear it in the early vocal groups like The Drifters and this year’s inductees The “5” Royales (who started out in North Carolina singing gospel as the Royal Sons Quartet); the Motown sounds of the Temptations, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas; the soul music of legends like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Darlene Love, Aretha Franklin, Al Green and Wilson Pickett; and in the message and spirit of The Isley Brothers and Earth Wind & Fire in the 70s; as well as the extraordinary music ...

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Who's Next: 2012 inductee Glyn Johns Shares the Incredible Story of The Who's 1971 album

Thursday, November 13: 8 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Below is an excerpt from Glyn Johns' new book, SOUND MAN: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, the Faces... (On sale now, Blue Rider Press).

Who's Next

The previous year, 1970, the Stones had started recording at Mick Jagger’s house out in the country, near Newbury. By this time, the Stones Truck was fully operational and we used the huge entrance hall of the Victorian pile that was Stargroves to record several tracks that were eventually used on Sticky Fingers. I had mentioned to Pete Townshend in conversation that these sessions had gone really well, so he suggested that we go there to start recording Who’s Next.

We began on the first day with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Not a bad way to start. With Pete’s permission, I edited the synthesizer track from his original demo, as it was a little too long, and played it in to the band in the studio. They performed live to it with remarkable skill, the synthesizer dictating a constant tempo for every bar of the song, with them staying locked relentlessly to it throughout. Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocal equaled ...

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5 Songs That Define the Sounds of the 1990s

Tuesday, November 11: 3:59 p.m.

Prodigy Firestarter music video singer 90s music

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Tom Dowd, Berry Gordy Jr., Les Paul, Sam Phillips and Phil Spector represent a 1950s and 1960s "recordist canon," pioneers of maverick recording methodologies responsible for shaping the sound of classic rock and roll. Their work not only forms the underpinning of rock music’s sonic characteristics, but also represents an oft-imitated body of audible stylistic, genre and aesthetic recording principles. Some of their radical, experimental and at times rebellious production techniques – Paul’s "Sound on Sound," Spector’s "Wall of Sound"and Phillips’ "Slap Echo" for example, have informed a continuum of established rock production standards.

However, the 1990s also marked a significant turning point in pop and rock sound recording. At a time when computer-based digital audio workstations (an electronic tool for recording, editing and producing audio files) were fast becoming the norm, many sound recordists of the era either rejected this new direction outright or blended technological and processual precursors into unconventional and individualized working practice. Such reinventions of technological and processual modes of production mirror those of the 1950s and 1960s ‘"recordist canon."

Here are 5 songs that helped define the sounds of the 1990s, and the producers who ...

continue Categories: Inductee, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Education, Exclusive Interviews
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