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How Cynthia Robinson Made Sure We Were All Cool

Wednesday, November 25: 11:48 a.m.

Sly and The Family Stone Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Cynthia Robinson dead at age 69

I was just an elementary school kid when I first heard “Dance to the Music,” Sly and the Family Stone’s first hit single, in spring 1968. The song was on the radio all the time. If it wasn’t on the Top 40/pop stations WIXY or CKLW, you just had to dial up to WJMO or WABQ, the R&B/ soul stations, to hear Cynthia Robinson’s cheeky introductory demand:  “Get up and dance to the music! Get on up and dance to the funky music!”

Cynthia Robinson was one half of the horn section of the Family Stone and the de facto MC – that’s MC in the early days of hip-hop sense – the “mic controller” who would punctuate dance tracks with enjoinders to “get up” or “get down” to the music to keep dancers engaged and moving on their feet. Cynthia was doing it 10 years before the Sugarhill Gang or Grandmaster Flash dropped their first beat.

That’s just one more way that Cynthia was ahead of her time, a pioneer, showing the rest of us the way. She was a strong female presence in a band – not a vocalist, as was the usual position ...

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JoJo Interview: Love, Songwriting, the Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson

Wednesday, November 4: 3:22 p.m.
Posted by JoJo

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, JoJo will perform as part of the Rock Hall's Music Masters tribute to Smokey Robinson presented by Klipsch audio. Get your tickets before they're all gone!

Video interview with singer JoJo talking love and Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson and Motown

I didn't even realize the impact that Smokey Robinson had on me until a few years ago, but his influence is so far-reaching. You can't listen to music - particularly American music - without being touched by Smokey.

I think my first introduction to him was through the Jackson 5, through [the Jackson 5 song] "Who's Lovin' You."

And I was just a huge Jackson 5 fan. I knew all the songs. I loved the Motown sound and just music that was coming up from that time.

I didn't know until a few years ago that Smokey Robinson had written ["Who's Lovin' You"].
So, the fact that I'm going get to sing it to honor him at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is really trippy.

It's such an incredible song. The way he writes about love is unparalleled. He is the original person to sing, to write about, to really capture the feeling of longing, and being in love, and ...

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Rose Maddox Sings and Swings as Rockabilly Original in the 1940s

Wednesday, September 16: 11:18 a.m.

history of rockabilly music rose maddox sings

The California music scene took off during World War II when it became the home of some of the most prominent western swing bands, including Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Spade Cooley and his Orchestra. They played primarily to an Okie audience — men and women who had migrated from the southern plains to work in the wartime production plants in places like Los Angeles and San Diego.

A large number of those wartime workers were women, dancing to the music of Bob Wills and Spade Cooley. So how did female musicians really stake a claim in this scene? Enter Rose Maddox.

Rose Maddox, the lead singer of the Maddox Brothers and Rose, developed a unique singing style — a belting voice that could be heard in the raucous roadhouses and dancehalls of California. Her resonating chest voice clearly projected over the din of dancing, drinking and socializing. Patrons had to take notice.

The Maddoxes were part of the Okie migration, leaving the depressed South for California in the 1930s. They worked as farmhands in the Central Valley until they formed the band The Maddox Brothers and Rose in the late 1930s. They came to the forefront of California’s ...

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

Does Lady Gaga's Meat Dress Smell? (And Everything Else You Wanted to Know About the Dress!)

Friday, September 11: 1 a.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

Where is Lady Gaga's meat dress now? Lady Gaga's meat dress at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio

Not known for subtlety, Lady Gaga made food for thought literal when she arrived at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards sporting her infamous meat dress. That year, she won five awards, including Video of the Year for “Bad Romance,” but much of the chatter then – and now – focused on the wonderful and weird fashion statement.

"Well, it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth," said Gaga. "However, it has many interpretations. But for me this evening, if we don't stand up for what we believe in, and if we don't fight for our rights, pretty soon we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat."

Five years later, it's safe and sound at the Rock Hall, but inquiring minds want to know: does Lady Gaga's meat dress smell? How is it not rotten? How long will it last? Here Rock Hall director of collections Jun Francisco answers all your meat dress questions. Read on:

How did the Rock Hall get the meat dress?

Jun ...

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The Stars Come Out For Darlene Love in New Music Video and Album

Thursday, August 27: 3:30 p.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

Darlene Love 2015 New Music Video with Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Bill Murray, David Letterman

The New York Times once declared that Darlene Love's “thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton's guitar or Bob Dylan's lyrics.” A bold statement, but fitting for popular music's greatest sessions vocalist and backup singer – and among the most recognizable voices in rock and roll history. “I never pushed to be a star,” she told writer David Hinckley in 1992. “I didn’t want to. I had my home, my family. Session work let you do the music and leave.”

Among rock cognoscenti, Love is best known for “He’s a Rebel,” a song credited to the Crystals that was in actuality sung by Love and her vocal group, the Blossoms. That's a story unto itself. With the Blossoms, Love sang with the likes of Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Mamas and the Papas, Duane Eddy, Sonny and Cher, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Luther Vandross and Dionne Warwick. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

“One time I had to make a list of all the people I’ve worked for,” Love recalled in a 1985 Goldmine interview. “The ...

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Rock Hall 2015: Who's Getting Inducted, How to Get Ceremony Tickets and the New Exhibit in Cleveland

Tuesday, December 16: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

who are the 2015 rock and roll hall of fame inductees

Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is proud to announce the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees. The Rock Hall's 2015 class includes the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Bill Withers, all in the performer category.

This year's class also recognizes the "5" Royales with the early influences award, and former Beatle and solo artist Ringo Starr enters the Hall of Fame – the last of the Fab Four to be inducted as a soloist, following John Lennon in 1994, Paul McCartney in 1999 and George Harrison in 2004.

“As we mark 30 years of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, we’re proud to honor these artists,” said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President Joel Peresman. "These Inductees epitomize rock and roll’s impact over the past 50 years and continuing through today."

Leading up to the April 18, 2015 ceremony, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will host a series of special events, including the grand opening of the major new 2015 Inductee exhibit, which will serve as an introduction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame visitor ...

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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Wishin' and Hopin'"

Wednesday, April 16: 5:04 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Dusty Springfield's "Wishin' and Hopin'" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

A powerful, smoky voice that ran the emotional gamut from cool sophistication to simmering passion, Dusty Springfield has been cited as "one of the five mighty pop divas of the Sixties," placing her in the rarified company of Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Martha Reeves. No less an authority than Berry Gordy credits her for helping the Motown sound take root in the U.K. Smitten by the soulful sounds coming out of Detroit, Springfield actually introduced the British public to Motown’s caravan of stars as the host of a 1965 TV special, while her solo work interpreted "the Sound of Young America" as a cool, poised vocal outpouring that reflected her British upbringing. Springfield immediately connected as a solo artist with 1964’s “I Only Want to Be with You.” The song made it into the British Top 10 and hit Number 12 in the U.S., making her the second British act after the Beatles to score a stateside pop hit. She became known as a British interpreter of American songwriters such as Randy Newman, Jerry Ragavoy, Gerry Goffin and Carole King and Burt Bacharach and Hal David. One of those memorable hits was "Wishin ...

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2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Linda Ronstadt Songs

Tuesday, April 8: 8:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” the Everly Brothers' “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid 70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush ...

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