Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics

Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics

Artifact & exhibit photos for the Rock Hall's featured exhibit.

Using video, multimedia, photographs, periodicals and artifacts, such as the guitar John Lennon used at the Montreal bed-in for peace where he and Yoko Ono introduced the anti-war and counterculture anthem “Give Peace a Chance,” “Louder Than Words” will showcase the intersection between rock and politics. It will explore how artists exercise their First Amendment rights, challenge assumptions and beliefs, stimulate thought and effect change. Beyond music’s influence on the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and gender equality, the exhibit will also feature other significant moments and figures, such as Bob Dylan who rallied people against social inequality, the hip-hop music of the 80s that discussed police brutality in poverty stricken neighborhoods, and Pussy Riot who utilized their music as an outlet for social activism in Russia.  


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Click on file name for hi-res download. All photos courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin Hat, 2009 (replica)

2.97 MB

Aretha Franklin went to Luke Song’s shop in Detroit looking for a hat to wear for her performance at the inauguration of President Obama on 1/20/09.

“I Don’t Want Nobody (Open Up the Door, I’ll Get It Myself),” 1969

3.76 MB

Written and recorded by James Brown. This single only reached Number 20 on the pop chart, but it made it to Number Three on the R&B chart.

John Lennon Acoustic Guitar

4.14 MB

John Lennon and Yoko Ono held two “bed-ins” for peace in March and May of 1969. The single “Give Peace a Chance” was recorded, using this guitar.

Letter from the F.B.I. to Priority Records, August 1, 1989

2.43 MB

The explicit & anti-establishment nature of their lyrics drew attention of high-level law enforcement.

Joe Strummer of the Clash Electric Guitar

2.49 MB

This guitar was Joe Strummer’s principal instrument. He played it in the studio while with the Clash and throughout his solo career.

Sam Cooke Ukulele

2 MB

Because of its compact size and portability, Cooke used this ukulele to compose while on the road.

Bruce Springsteen Outfit and Hat, 1984

3.32 MB

Bruce Springsteen wore this outfit on the cover of Born in the U.S.A.

Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics - 2

4.82 MB

Exhibit photo


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