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Music that Defined the Civil Rights Movement

Friday, January 15: 7:17 p.m.
Posted by Jackie Chisholm
Jacklyn Chisholm, vice president of planning and institutional relations at the Rock Hall

As we approach another celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it caused me to stop for a moment and think about the music that helped to define the civil rights movement. There are two songs, in particular, that when I hear them, I hear the dreams of a people hoping for a better life in America. The two are “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke and “Keep on Pushing” by the Impressions. Both songs were released in 1964 at the height of the civil rights movement.

In “A Change is Gonna Come,” Sam Cooke sings about the hardships that he’s encountered, but ends each verse with “But I know that a change is gonna come, oh yes it will.”

The Impressions exhorted Blacks to keep reaching higher through verses like, “Now look-a look-a look yonder, what’s that I see? A great big stone wall stands there ahead of me. But I’ve got my pride and I’ll move on aside and keep on pushin.”

What’s interesting to note is that both of these songs that were so important to the civil rights movement became songs of victory during ...


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Museum’s VP of Education Reveals Inductees Who Have NOT Recorded Holiday Music

Tuesday, December 22: 8:58 p.m.
Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs, on stage during Rock and Roll Nig

As we were preparing last week’s special Rock and Roll Night School on rock and roll holiday records, I was amazed at how many Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees had recorded a holiday record. So, being the obsessives that we are, the Education Department staff tried to figure out just how many there are. Here’s our preliminary stats. Note: for the purposes of discussion, we focused on inductees from the Performer and Early Influence category; we counted a band or a duo as one inductee (e.g., The Rolling Stones =1; Bob Dylan =1, etc.); and we included our newest group of inductees (ABBA, The Stooges, The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff, and Genesis).  Here’s what we found:

143 out of 255 Inductees have recorded a holiday record: 72%!

Given how many crazy one-off records are out there, I’m sure that we missed a few. I’ve listed our working list below. Please let us know if we missed any! We’d love hear from you.

Inductees who HAVE NOT recorded holiday songs/albums 


Early Influences

1.    Charlie Christian
2.    Willie Dixon
3.    Billie Holiday
4.    Howlin’ Wolf
5.    Elmore James
6.    Robert Johnson
7.    Professor ...


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Rock Hall President Terry Stewart Shares His Favorite Rock and Roll Holiday Songs

Thursday, December 17: 12 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Terry Stewart shares some of his favorite holiday songs at Rock and Roll Night School on December 16

Man oh Man was last night’s holiday edition of Rock and Roll Night School fun! And we all learned so much about a very special niche of music. In fact, we are thinking about doing this again and maybe streaming the program online. So……anybody out there, let us know if this would be something you would like to participate in…and if you can’t make it in person, consider possibly participating online or via the phone.

Below you’ll find a list of my favorite rock and roll holiday songs. Also, feel free to comment on all of the lists if you were here last night. Most importantly, let us know if we missed any holiday songs by Inductees.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Come to Cleveland!

27.) Merry Christmas – Lightning Hopkins
26.) Christmas Presents – Solomon Burke
25.) Not So Merry Christmas – Bobby Vee
24.) There’s Trouble Brewing – Jack Scott
23.) Chipmunk Song – Canned Heat and the Chipmunks
22.) Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy – Buck Owens
21.) Man with all the Toys – The Beach Boys
20.) Papa Noel – Brenda Lee
19.) Chinchy Old Scrooge – Phil Moore
18.) Jingle Jangle – The Penguins
17.) Christmas in ...


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A Look at the 14th Annual AMM Tribute Concert from the Rock Hall’s Vice President of Education

Thursday, November 19: 9:58 p.m.

The American Music Masters tribute to Janis Joplin, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, culminated Saturday night with a tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theater. The concert ended with Bobby Wood’s terrific house band playing “Get It While You Can,” a Jerry Ragovoy song that Janis Joplin recorded on Pearl.  I felt such gratitude to the performers as they came out for a curtain call—they had all brought their best to tell Janis Joplin’s story. Over the course of the night, they showed us Janis’s deep musical roots in blues and folk, her galvanizing rock music, and her love for the soul music of her day.

 

An early highlight of the show was Guy Clark’s “She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” a song he recorded on his debut album, Old No. 1 in 1975. Although the song wasn’t written about Janis, it was a perfect song to capture her desire to leave Texas and make a space for herself out in the world. Guy and Janis played the same circuit in Houston and Austin, Texas in 1965, and he recalled meeting her back then. Janis also crossed paths with Roky Erickson ...


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Girls Rock! (and Teachers Rock) During American Music Masters Week

Wednesday, November 11: 12 p.m.
L-R: Rock Hall education manager Stephanie Heriger with educator Nancy Boutilier. Photo: Rock Hall/J

Rock Hall’s Education Manager Discusses Tuesday’s Teachers Rock Event

It’s hard to watch Girls Rock!, the acclaimed documentary about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, and not be moved.  As a woman, I saw myself – every part of myself – in the girls featured in the movie.  As a female musician, I wished that I could have attended a camp like this when I was younger (or now, for that matter).  As an educator and former elementary school teacher, I recognized a lot of my students (male and female) in the stories told on-screen.  And as a member of the Education staff here at the Rock Hall, I couldn’t help but connect the dots between the world of Girls Rock! and the legacy of this year’s American Music Masters honoree – Janis Joplin.  I realized very quickly that Girls Rock! would be a great way to get teachers to think about and discuss a lot of the complicated issues surrounding teaching in the 21st century – all through the power of rock and roll and the lens of Janis Joplin’s life and music.

Yesterday afternoon, as part of our monthly Teachers Rock series, I was joined ...


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Janis Jolts and Holds ‘em in Cleveland

Tuesday, October 27: 4:14 p.m.

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Were you there?  Do you remember when?  As we gear up for our 2009 American Music Masters celebration, Kozmic Blues: The Life and Music of Janis Joplin, a few friends and colleagues reminded us that the master herself graced different stages in Cleveland in 1968 and 1969, and her performances still resonate with attendees.  Jane Scott remembered that Janis exploded onstage at Public Hall in October of 1968.  Advertisements of Janis’ May gig at the same place were splashed across the pages of the Plain Dealer.  Pat Garling described her August 30, 1969 Blossom show as “musical magnificence.”  Whether you attended one of the Public Hall performances or the gigs at Blossom, what do you remember about them?  Did you “revel in psychedelic brainwash?”  Were you jolted and held?  What stayed with you?  Feel free to reminisce here, and share your unforgettable memories.

  • October 4, 1968:  Big Brother and the Holding Company at Public Hall
  • May 9, 1969:  Kozmic Blues at Public Hall
  • August 29, 1969: Janis ...

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Fortune Battle of the Corporate Bands Finals 2009

Wednesday, October 7: 4:27 p.m.

Executives Jam to Be Crowned Best Corporate Band at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before Celebrity Judges Tommy Lee of Motley Crüe, Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special, and Antoinette Follett of Making Music Magazine


Year after year, the FORTUNE Battle event is indicative of how passionate people are about music. A lot of talent exists in the world. Not all of it makes it to a record label or an internet site. These people have chosen some path other than rock and roll, but still have talent and passion for the music.

On Friday and Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd, 8 qualifying bands and their fans from the two regional competitions in Los Angeles and Nashville converged on Cleveland to participate in the 9th annual Fortune Corporate Battle of the Bands event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  The bands this year traveled from Kansas, Utah, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Tennessee and Mississippi in hopes to win the crown.

The weekend began with the Gibson Tune Up Party at the House of Blues on Friday night featuring Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special and Lee Roy Parnell playing with Dixie Peach.  The band played their ...


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Music Knows No Borders

Tuesday, September 1: 12 p.m.
Posted by Todd Mesek

Last week, a group of about 12 or 13 cultural festival organizers from the Republic of Georgia came to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. They wanted to get a better sense of what we do to tell our story, to learn more about our organization and, in general, to exchange ideas.

The conversation that ensued made for a memorable meeting – one that reminds all of us about the power of rock and roll.

To start, we provided an overview of the Museum, the Inductions, and our mission to collect, preserve and interpret the cultural relevance of rock and roll. We spoke of our exhibit on rock and roll and free speech, Don’t Knock the Rock. We also talked about our education programs, which include classes on music as a tool for social change, referencing the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, Woodstock and myriad other moments when rock and roll connected people and served as a catalyst for new ideas.

The “new ideas” notion took root with this audience. Several people began to talk about going to great lengths to listen to rock and roll music. Our friends told us  stories of their fathers ...


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