Despite her frequent identification as a "folk singer," Ani DiFranco has culled from an eclectic songbook on more than 20 albums. Perhaps grounded in folk, two decades into her career, DiFranco's expansive catalog has been peppered with soul, funk, jazz, electronic music, spoken word and more. Along the way, she's crossed paths with the likes of Chuck D., Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and many more, while espousing "to use her voice and her guitar as honestly and unflinchingly as she could."
Ani DiFranco's current tour, in support of her latest ¿Which Side Are You On?, included a stop in Cleveland, where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame caught up with her to learn more about what's inspired and influenced DiFranco over the last 20-plus years.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?
Ani Difranco: The first records I ever bought were cassette tapes. I remember driving across the country with a mere handful of them, which I listened to repeatedly. I had a Robert Johnson recording, I had Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy, I had Prince's Purple ...
With more than a dozen albums and nearly 30 years under their collective belt, Yo La Tengo – Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew – have enjoyed success entirely on their own terms. They've played everywhere, from the world’s best-known concert halls and museums to dives and clubs, dominating critics’ lists, doing a "Simpsons" theme, playing the Velvet Underground in I Shot Andy Warhol, sharing stages with some of the most important musicians of our time, and even creating a holiday tradition onto themselves with their yearly series of Hanukkah shows at Hoboken, New Jersey’s legendary club Maxwells, from which they’ve donated hundreds of thousands to charity.
In 2013, Yo La Tengo released Fade, featuring 10 songs recorded at Chicago's Soma studios with producer John McEntire. The resulting collection of songs features that band's signature layered arrangements, flush with controlled guitar noise and strings; alongside gentle, whispered pop flights.
Kaplan, Hubley and McNew recently visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as the Rock Hall's Library and Archives. While here, the Rock Hall caught up with Kaplan, who shares thoughts on his first records, favorite Yo ...
This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in partnership with Cleveland Hopkins International airport unveiled a new exhibit showcasing the work of celebrated rock and roll photographer and Cleveland native Janet Macoska. Travelers will experience the new “Live from Cleveland, Ohio!” exhibit in the Public Art Gallery at the entrance to Concourse A – a welcome to travelers befitting Cleveland's status as a true rock and roll city.
Macoska has been capturing some of rock’s greatest moments regularly since 1974. Her photos have been published in Rolling Stone, People, US, Vogue, American Photo, Creem, 16 Magazine, The New York Times and The London Times as well as appearing on VH1 and other film productions.
“Growing up in Cleveland provided the perfect stage to build my career as a photographer in love with rock music,” says Macoska. “In 2014, I will have been working this mission for 40 years. The images you will see in this exhibition are favorites of mine, captured during the coolest concerts to come through Cleveland along with some of the best moments I've experienced as house photographer for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.”
Macoska's catalog ...
Few guitarists made as lasting an impression in such short order as Duane Allman. Beyond his work with the his namesake group and principal architects of Southern rock, the Allman Brothers Band, Duane was an in-demand session musician. A fixture at Muscle Shoals, Duane's playing can be heard on records by Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, among others, and he famously traded licks with Eric Clapton on Derek and the Dominos' 1970 release Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
This 1959 cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul was acquired by Duane in the fall of 1970, after he fell in love with the instrument jamming with a band called the Stone Balloon in Daytona Beach, Florida. The guitar can be heard on the seminal Allman Brothers Band live concert recording At Fillmore East. Recorded at the famed NYC concert hall on March 12 and 13, 1971, sprawling jams such as "Whipping Post," inspired blues including a cover of "Statesboro Blues" and fiery, jazz-inspired epics like "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" showcased Allman's near-singular dexterity and versatility as a true guitar virtuoso.
Recently, the Gibson Custom Shop visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland with ...
In addition to the Jim Morrison–led call to arms “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” the Doors self-titled debut album included “Light My Fire.” Penned by guitarist Robby Krieger in his first songwriting attempt, the song catapulted the group to stardom, topping the charts for three weeks during the Summer of Love. For purposes of AM-radio airplay, the single version of “Light My Fire” was edited from its nearly seven-minute album sprawl to just under three minutes. With the Doors quickly gaining a loyal following – and notoriety owing largely to the charismatic if untrammeled personality of Morrison – the group were booked as a musical guest on The Ed Sullivan Show airing September 17, 1967. It didn't go as the producers had hoped, as the resulting episode followed keyboardist Ray Manzarek's assessment of the mid Sixties: "the battle was between the hip and the non- hip, the heads and the straights, the psychedelics and the squares – and that was basically the battle – the establishment against the hippies."
Best Coast's 2013 tour dates recently included a stop at the Grog Shop in Cleveland. After the concert, during a rare moment of free time, band members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where they were struck by such artifacts as the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' classic song "God Only Knows."
Based in Los Angeles, Best Coast formed in 2009 around the duo of Cosentino and Bruno, quickly releasing a host of 7" and EP recordings. In 2010, the group's single "When I'm With You" proved a breakout hit and was followed that July by Best Coast's debut album, Crazy For You. All the material showcased Cosentino and Bruno's lo-fi aesthetic and pop-hook sensibility, with references to the surf rock and girl groups of the Sixties the band admired.
With extensive touring and popular music videos – including 2011's "Our Deal" directed by Drew Barrymore – the band's star continued to rise. The band's sophomore effort, The Only Place, was released in 2012.
In this interview with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, the singer and songwriter talks about her influences – from Blink 182 ...
Starting this week, visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will be able to see a new addition to the Rock Hall's Michael Jackson collection: an outfit worn by the King of Pop early in his Jackson 5 days.
I clearly remember the first time I saw this newest addition to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection. I got an extreme close-up look at Michael’s orange, yellow and red ensemble, with my nose inches from the television screen. I was watching the Jackson 5’s second television special, which aired on November 5, 1972. Michael and his brothers wore a succession of colorful, fashionable, individualized yet coordinated outfits on the television special.
The warm, saturated colors, double-knit fabric, turtleneck and bellbottom design of this particular outfit were the apogee of early 1970s hip fashion, seen on fashion runways from couturiers like Halston and Yves St. Laurent, accessible and readily adaptable for the ready-to-wear market.
The stylish turtleneck top of the outfit with the heart-embellished “J5” logo is actually a body suit – clearly a necessity to accommodate Michael’s athletic dancing. Michael was growing up fast, but ...
After a groundbreaking in June 1993 and the realizaition of architect IM Pei's stunning vision, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened to the public on the shores of Lake Erie in September 1995. The day culminated with a benefit concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where an incredible roster of rock and roll legends took the stage: Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, the Pretenders, John Fogerty, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, the Kinks, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Booker T and the MGs, Eric Burdon and Martha Reeves. It was just the start.
One of the first pieces of rock and roll history ever loaned to the Museum came from Yoko Ono: the 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon and used extensively throughout his career. The unique acoustic guitar was part of a collection Ono presented to the Museum on October 13, 1994 and also included handwritten lyrics, a pair of Lennon's eye glasses, Lennon's guitar from the 1965 Beatles concert at Shea Stadium and more.
The Gibson acoustic guitar, however, remains "one of the most precious artifacts that we have in the Rock ...