Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics

Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics opens May 20 at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Louder than Words: Rock, Power & Politics opens May 20 at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Twisted Sister Frontman Dee Snider, who testified at the 1985 Senate Hearing on Parental Advisory, to open new exhibit 

CLEVELAND – As Cleveland prepares for the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is opening a very timely exhibit around rock and politics. Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics looks at some of the most important debates in our country through the lens of rock music. The exhibit includes exclusive video interviews with Bono, David Byrne, Dee Snider, Tom Morello, Lars Ulrich, Gloria Estefan, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter, and others, and combines them with interactives, photography and never-before-seen artifacts to examine how music has both shaped and reflected our culture norms on eight political topics:

  • Civil Rights
  • LGBT Issues
  • Feminism
  • War & Peace
  • Censorship
  • Political Campaigns
  • Political Causes
  • International Politics

PNC presents Louder Than Words: Rock, Power & Politics, sponsored by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Sound Exchange, Altria Group, and AT&T, organizes the experience by presidential administrations – from Eisenhower through Obama – and uses historical context to shed insight into how we view these issues today. A continuously updated digital screen connects music’s impact to some of the most pressing media issues of today, including Springsteen’s cancellation of concerts in North Carolina following the signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, the Arab Spring and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider, who testified at the 1985 Parents Music Resource Center (PRMC) Senate Hearings on Censorship, will perform an acoustic version of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” during the opening event on May 19. Snider testified along with Frank Zappa and John Denver at the PRMC Hearings, which had the stated goal of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to have violent, drug-related or sexual themes via labeling albums with Parent Advisory stickers. Snider’s artifacts and stories are told in the exhibit including how Presidential candidate Donald Trump came to use “We’re Not Gonna Take It” as his campaign song.

Included in the exhibit are:

  • Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” Fender Stratocaster from Woodstock (pictured)
  • John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from the 1969 Montreal and Amsterdam “Bed-ins for Peace”
  • Correspondence between the FBI and Priority Records regarding N.W.A's "Fuck Tha Police"
  • Original handwritten lyrics from Bob Dylan’s "The Times They Are a-Changin'," Chuck Berry’s "School Day," Neil Young’s “Ohio,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A” and Green Day’s “American Idiot”
  • Original Village People stage costumes
  • Artifacts related to the Vietnam war, the May 4, 1970 shooting at Kent State, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Curators from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Newseum worked with veteran music journalist, author and television producer Bill Flanagan (VH1 Storytellers, CMT Crossroads, CBS News Sunday Morning) to create this unique exhibition. It will open run May 20 through Nov. 27 when the exhibit travels to the Newseum in Washington, D.C to open Jan. 13, 2017, in time for the Presidential Inauguration.

More than 50 artists and political figures are featured in the exhibit, including:

  • Beyoncé
  • Bono
  • Eric Clapton
  • Bill Clinton
  • Sam Cooke
  • Bob Dylan
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Lady Gaga
  • Green Day
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Chrissie Hynde
  • Alan Jackson
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Queen Latifah
  • John Lennon
  • Madonna
  • Bob Marley
  • Tom Morello
  • N.W.A
  • Yoko Ono 
  • Public Enemy
  • Prince
  • Elvis Presley
  • Little Richard
  • Keith Richards
  • Pete Seeger
  • Dee Snider
  • Nina Simone
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Rod Stewart
  • Joe Strummer
  • Village People
  • Sid Vicious
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Neil Young
  • And more! 

The Rock Hall will be doing themed programs about rock and politics for visitors all summer long, including a screening of Free to Rock: How Rock & Roll Helped End the Cold War on Wed., June 29 at 7 p.m. Visit rockhall.com for more information on upcoming events and programming.


The mission of the Newseum is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education. It is the only institution in the world dedicated to championing the five freedoms of the First Amendment; religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. One of the top attractions in Washington, D.C., the dynamic, engaging and interactive experience offers seven levels of exhibits that encourage visitors to consider the evolution of freedom of expression, and to explore the meaning of freedom in an age of continual technological disruption. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s mission is to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll. The institution carries out its mission by giving voice to the stories of the people, artifacts and events that shaped rock and roll — through Museum exhibits, materials in the Museum’s Library and Archives, traveling exhibitions, and a wide array of innovative educational programs and activities. The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays (and Saturdays through Labor Day), the Museum is open until 9 p.m. For more information, please call 216.781.ROCK (7625), visit rockhall.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@rock_hall) and Instagram (@rockhall).

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Media Contacts: 

Shauna Wilson, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, [email protected], 216-515-1215

Carl Harp, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, [email protected], 216-515-1503

Jonathan Thompson, Newseum, [email protected], 202-292-6353