Guest blog courtesy of 2011 Summer Teacher Institute participant Sarah Dougher, educator at Portland State University and at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland.
One thing about exploring the history of women is that in order to tell these important stories, the personal is made public, and the personal often becomes political. Although this is an old saw, it sings a new tune when we are talking about the materials in the Women who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power exhibit. Upon seeing Wanda Jackson’s dress, a kind of shabby-looking red, white and blue number hanging next to her hand-decorated guitar, our tour guide mentioned that when the museum had asked Jackson for items to display, she didn’t have many dresses from the early period. She explained that her mom made all her dresses by hand, and because they were poor, would often recycle elements, such as fringe and rhinestones, in dress after dress.
What we saw displayed at the museum were elements that may have graced the famous dress that did not cover her shoulders when she first played at the Grand Ole Opry. She was forced by the host to wear a jacket on stage ...
We were saddened to hear the news about the death of Jerry Ragovoy. Jerry was one of the greatest rock and soul songwriters and producers. His passionate, beautifully crafted songs continue to resonate: “Time is On My Side,” “Stay With Me,” “Get It While You Can,” “Ain’t Got Nobody to Give It To” and “Piece of My Heart,” to name just a handful. I was honored to interview Jerry at the Rock Hall’s American Music Masters tribute to Janis Joplin in 2009. He shared some great stories about how he wrote songs and what drew him to rhythm and blues. He talked extensively about working with Joplin (she recorded five of his songs: “Piece of My Heart,” “Cry Baby,” “Get It While You Can,” “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” and “My ...
No single figure has been more closely aligned with Motown than indcutee Smokey Robinson. In addition to leading the Miracles, he served as a Motown producer, songwriter, talent scout and Berry Gordy’s most trusted confidant and right-hand man. On Saturday, June 18, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed Robinson for a special live interview as part of the Museum's Hall of Fame Series. Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs at the Rock Hall, interviewed Robinson - watch below for highlights from the event.
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Today—with help from over 100 donors from around the country—our curators hung the iconic Yasgur’s Farm dairy sign in the museum. It was installed to coincide with the 42nd Anniversary of the Woodstock Art and Music Festival. See photos of the sign installation here!
Some readers will be familiar with the story. The remarkable sign was preserved for 40 years by a neighbor and was recently acquired by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. An anonymous donor agreed to contribute $12,000—half the purchase price—with the condition that other music fans provide the remainder through a grassroots online fundraising campaign. We elected to use website kickstarter.com. From there the fans took over and contributed the rest of the funds in a few short weeks—THANK YOU.
If you are passing through Cleveland stop in and see the sign. It hangs in the museum next to the famed awning from CBGB’s, about 50 feet from Jerry’s guitars, Janis’ Porsche, and a few thousand other incredible artifacts documenting the most powerful art form in history – ROCK AND ROLL!
Over 100 individuals supported the campaign including:
Craig A. Adams
In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – a fitting tribute to the "Queen of Soul," the woman who for more than 50 years has been the expressive, passionate voice of soul music. More than 20 years later, Franklin continues to be a driving force in the world of music, and I am thrilled to announce her as The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's 2011 American Music Masters honoree.
The American Music Masters series will honor Ms. Franklin with a weeklong celebration beginning on October 31, featuring special events presented by the Rock Hall and series partner Case Western Reserve University.
Aretha Franklin is a masterful singer, pianist, performer and arranger, whose catalog of recordings highlights a brilliant versatility that spans myriad genres: gospel, jazz, blues, pop standards, rock, funk – the list goes on. She constantly breaks down boundaries between styles of American music, revealing the connections between them, across generations. In the words of Princeton University professor Daphne Brooks, she has “reinvented the fabric of our musical culture.” In the process, she has inspired millions of people around the world to sing, to speak, to climb ...
"Pioneers of Rock" is the second installment in a special series that highlights the evolution of women in music by placing their accomplishments, inspirations and influence in the context of the eras that shaped their sounds and messages. "America's Foremothers" introduced the series.
As World War II ended in 1945 and G.I.s returned home, the proportion of women on assembly lines fell from 25 percent to 7.5 percent. Women who had – out of necessity – taken an unprecedented place in the work force were urged back into the home by books like 1947’s Modern Woman: The Lost Sex. The book argued that only a return to traditional values and gender roles could restore “women’s inner balance.”
Female rock and roll pioneers were less interested in restoring “women’s inner balance” than they were seeking an even playing field. Taking cues from Jackie Robinson’s and Larry Doby’s breaking the color line in baseball in 1947, and from President Truman’s desegregating the U.S. Armed Forces with the signing of Executive Order 9981 in 1948, American culture and the music business was at the birth of a new age. As with the birth of ...
"The Fabulous Girl Groups" is the third installment in a special series that highlights the evolution of women in music by placing their accomplishments, inspirations and influence in the context of the eras that shaped their sounds and messages. "America's Foremothers" introduced the series, and "Pioneers of Rock" was the second feature.
The roots of the girl-group era date back to 1956, the year when a vocal group called Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers lit up the charts with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Mary Wilson of the Supremes remembers that many girls around her neighborhood weren’t content just to listen to Frankie Lymon sing on their transistor radios – they wanted to be Frankie Lymon. Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes auditioned for her future producer and husband, Phil Spector, by singing “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” when they met in 1962.
The first real girl-group hit was the Bobbettes’ “Mr. Lee,” which reached Number Six in August 1957, just a month before nine African-American kids had to be escorted by the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to desegregate their high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1958, as Swedish diplomat Agda Rossel became ...
On October 9, Carl Palmer, the acclaimed drummer and founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Asia, came to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the Museum's Legends series. Palmer is one of the great rock drummers. His playing ranges from the orchestral-like percussion of the Emerson, Lake & Palmer live album Pictures at an Exhibition (1971) to the powerful rock blast of the Asia hit “Heat of the Moment” (1982) – a track that also contains the sonic inspiration of Hal Blaine’s boom-boom, boom-chak from the Ronettes' “Be My Baby.”
During his Rock Hall appearance, Palmer candidly addressed his life – from his childhood in Birmingham, England, to an illustrious career that's included time in psychedelic act The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, prog rock innovators Atomic Rooster, platinum-selling ELP and Asia, and most recently the Carl Palmer Band. "I came from a family, half of whom worked in retail shops, the other half were musicians or worked in music," said Palmer. "The work I did with my dad working in our retail shops gave me my strong work ethic, but the fact there was always music being heard in my home had ...