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Sixties :: Blog

Did the Vietnam War Have a Soundtrack?

Tuesday, November 24: 1:52 p.m.
Posted by Doug Bradley

The Animals We Gotta Get Out of This Place Vietnam War songs

Doug Bradley, author of DEROS Vietnam, has written extensively about his Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, experiences. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1970 and served one year as an information specialist (journalist) at U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near Saigon.

I first became a soldier in a war zone on Veterans Day (November 11) 1970. It’s an irony I’ve wrestled with for 45 years, due in part to the precise timing of U. S. Army tours of duty in Vietnam, which meant that Uncle Sam would send me back home exactly 365 days later — on November 11, 1971.

Needless to say, the date is etched in my mind and will always be. It’s personal, of course, but in a way it’s lyrical, too. I say that because my earliest Vietnam memories aren’t about guns and bullets, but rather about music.

As my fellow “newbies” and I were being transported from Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base to the Army’s 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh, I vividly recall hearing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles singing “Tears of a Clown.” That pop song was blasting from four or five ...

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5 Must-See Items in the Rock Hall's New Paul Simon Exhibit

Tuesday, December 23: 11:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

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.

What was Paul Simon's first guitar? Stadium acoustic guitar played by Paul Simon

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 ...

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Paul Simon Looks Back at "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Wednesday, November 5: 3:24 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Simon and Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water cover art and breakup

The biggest hit of Simon and Garfunkel's career turned into their swan song. The much-loved and critically acclaimed duo personified poetic, collegiate folk rock. Throughout the 1960s, however, Paul Simon's songs increasingly discarded formal language for more colloquial lyrics. Similarly, his music expanded from the folkie roots implicit in his guitar finger picking. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reflected these trends, besides being a typically well-manicured production. Similar qualities characterized Simon's subsequent solo career.

"'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is something of a mystery to me," notes Simon in the Rock Hall's latest exhibit, Paul Simon: Words & Music. "Because nothing prompted me to write it. I was listening to a lot of gospel quartets, particularly the Swan Silvertones and the Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. I was stunned and I thought, 'that’s a lot better than I usually write.'"

With a dramatic piano introduction and majestic melody, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a moving, spiritual song that like the Beatles' "Let It Be" evokes gospel themes without the overt trappings of that genre. Some theorize that its massive success piqued Simon, who not only wrote the tune but also was intimately involved in its ...

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Los Angeles in the 60s: Beefeaters, Byrds, Buffalos and Folk-rock Supergroups

Thursday, August 14: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

the Beefeaters and the Byrds folk rock in Los Angeles the sounds of the 60s

Fifty years ago, in 1964, a group of musicians – Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark – came together in Los Angeles, California, calling themselves the Beefeaters. By December of 1964, the Beefeaters had recruited Chris Hillman on bass guitar and Michael Clarke on drums, and changed their name to the Byrds. Far more than a name change, the group charted a new course in rock and roll history, pioneering the folk rock sounds that would become so emblematic of an era and influential generations later.

Folk rock didn't necessarily begin with the Byrds' "Mr Tambourine Man" – four months before they recorded it, the Animals were topping the pop charts with "The House of the Rising Sun" – but its combination of song and performance epitomized the genre, with the happy effect of giving Bob Dylan (as songwriter, at least) a Number One hit. The only Byrd playing on it, though, was electric 12-string guitarist McGuinn.  Producer Terry Melcher, doubtful of the new band's abilities, hired session musicians to back up the vocals of McGuinn, Crosby and Clark. Perhaps Melcher had heard the group's originally private 1964 recording of the tune, which sounds like an arrangement for a music ...

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Interview with Alan Parsons: The Beatles Final Live Performance, Abbey Road and Rock History

Wednesday, May 21: 11:34 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Alan Parsons donates stage outfits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Audio engineer, record producer, composer and musician Alan Parsons visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a tour stop that's taken him coast to coast in the United States. During his visit, Parsons donated two stage jackets to the Rock Hall's collection, and shared firsthand accounts of his remarkable career: from landing a job at Abbey Road at age 19, to working on the Beatles rooftop performance at Apple Studios in 1969; from his work on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon to his role in some of the Hollies' greatest hits; to his own music with the Alan Parsons Project and as a solo artist.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: You got a job at the fabled Abbey Road when you were quite young…
Alan Parsons: I already had a job with EMI, which is the part company of Abbey Road Studios, and I worked in a sort of associated department, which was called 'tape records.' We were making reel-to-reel quarter-inch albums on tape back then… actually making Beatles albums on quarter-inch tape. And, there was a link from that department to Abbey Road. I wrote to ...

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On the Beatles 50th Anniversary, Sean Ono Lennon Plays "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

Thursday, February 6: 1:08 p.m.
Posted by Alexandra Fagan

In 1988, a young Sean Ono Lennon – John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s only son – took to the podium as the Beatles accepted their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors. Obviously nervous and encouraged by Ringo Starr to say a few words, Sean explained: “I’m pretty young to know about this still, but I still love the Beatles, and I’m pretty proud to be up here today for doing nothing.” Twenty-six years later, Sean Ono Lennon, a talented musician and composer, was again paying tribute to the legacy of the music his father and the Beatles created. This time, prompted by the 50th  anniversary of the Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan

In honor of the Beatles anniverary, artists from all genres have been performing together on The Late Show With David Letterman. Last night, the Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon covered the Beatles' psychedelic rock classic “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Lead singer, Wayne Coyne, stood tall on a road case with shimmering ribbons dangling from his arms and a tangled tentacle arrangement of LED lights adorning his mic stand. Lennon donned the same hat his dad wore in the cover art of the 1970s compilation ...

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Ringo Starr's Photo Album of His Life: Now on View at the Library & Archives

Wednesday, February 5: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Ringo Starr self-portrait / Courtesy of Genesis Publications and Ringo Starr

"This is how we saw most of the world when it got big for the Beatles," says Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Ringo Starr of his PHOTOGRAPH tome from Genesis Publications. "You'll find several of the shots in this book are from my point of view, looking out of a car window. That's just how it was. You had to get to the gig, and then get away from the gig to wherever you were going next."

PHOTOGRAPH gives rock fans a first-hand look into Starr's life behind – and away from – the drum kit. With more than 250 rare and unseen photographs from Starr's personal collection, PHOTOGRAPH compiles mementos and memories from his childhood, the Beatles and beyond. "I love pictures put together, showing different times of your life," says Starr. "At the time, I never thought that there would be a whole book of my photographs."

Be part of the Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Rock Hall on February 9, 2014

2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Brian Epstein with Paul McCartney and the Beatles in 1964Beatles fans will get rare and candid looks into the Fab Four's inner circle, with photos of George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon through the decades, with early archival ...

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The Beatles 50th Anniversary and an Unsolved Fab Four Mystery

Friday, January 31: 11:56 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Beatles live at Carnegie Hall on February 12, 1964 / Courtesy of Carnegie Hall Archives

The Beatles first arrived in America on February 7, 1964, at New York's Kennedy Airport. Two days later, on February 9, the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast from New York City, reaching an audience of more than 70 million people.  The Fab Four would perform again on Ed Sullivan on February 16, in Miami. Those landmark performances are well documented, but one performance on February 12, 1964 has an element of great mystery: missing Beatles concert footage that would be of interest to any Beatles fan!

The Beatles made their Carnegie Hall debut on February 12, 1964. The show was typical of the nascent days of Beatlemania – screaming fans, confused adults, rock and roll. But behind the Beatles, sitting on the Carnegie Hall stage sat a group of individuals, including a woman with a film camera. Who is that woman and what did she capture from that momentous performance? And where is that footage?

Be part of the Beatles 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Rock Hall on February 9, 2014

With the help from our friends at the Carnegie Hall Archives, we are enlisting Beatles fans from all over the world to assist Carnegie Hall’s ...

continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Library and Archives
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