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Carl Palmer Goes Solo

Friday, October 14: 9 a.m.
Posted by Bruce Pilato
Acclaimed drummer Carl Palmer at the Rock Hall

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 ...


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Hall of Fame Series with Spooner Oldham

Friday, November 11: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Spooner Oldham

On November 2, 2011, Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham spoke with and performed for a sold-out audience in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Foster Theater. Oldham is a linchpin of Southern Soul and the Alabama sound, a fixture of famed Muscle Shoals and FAME studios, where his keyboard playing enlivened some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the past 50 years, including Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man," Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Together with singer-songwriter Dan Penn, Spooner contributed a number of classics to the canon of rock, co-writing "Cry Like a Baby" by the Box Tops, "It Tears Me Up" by Percy Sledge and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify. 

Born Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham in Center Star, Alabama, Oldham is one of rock's most in-demand players, appearing on records and tours with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young, in addition to newer act Drive-By Truckers. 

During his Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum director of education Jason Hanley, Oldham talked about ...


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An Evening With Rosie Flores and "the Female Elvis"

Tuesday, January 24: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Janis Martin

Dubbed "the female Elvis," Virginia native Janis Martin's sobriquet alone fostered great expectations for the young performer in the 1950s. As the fusion of R&B and country evolved into rockabilly, and a charge of primarily male artists heralded its arrival, she was a rarity – though her musicianship, charismatic stage persona and a series of memorable recordings meant the annals of history would not dismiss her as a novelty. 

A precocious performer reared in a family of musicians, Martin's earliest experiences singing and playing guitar came before she reached her teens. Although initially drawn to country music, Martin's exposure to R&B in the Fifties proved captivating, and the resulting genre-blending sound she cultivated was enough to pique the interest of RCA/Victor, who signed her when she was 15 years old. "Victor, having taken the gamble with Presley and emerged a winner, has now come up with the 'Female Elvis Presley.' This lass is Janis Martin, and her first disk, 'Will You, Willyum' is already getting sales action in all fields," noted the May 12, 1956 issue of Billboard. From roughly 1956 through 1960, Martin recorded and released numerous cuts – from the suitably rocking original ...


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Spinderella's First Spin

Wednesday, February 22: 10:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
DJ Spinderella demonstrates the art of DJing with vinyl

On Wednesday, February 15, 2012, Spinderella – the Grammy Award–winning DJ, producer, rapper and writer – appeared in the Museum's Foster Theater for a live interview and DJ demo performance. Over the course of an hour-long interview with Director of Education Jason Hanley, Spinderella talked about her career, influences and more.

As a true hip-hop pioneer, Spinderella rocked the turntables as a member of Salt-n-Pepa, the iconic female rap group that would sell more than 15 million albums and singles worldwide. Her career started before she even finished high school.

"I didn't set out to be a DJ," said Spinderella, recalling how her first interest in music came from poring over her father's vinyl collection. "I was in high school. I was in the cafeteria, going to lunch, and a young lady just came up to me and was like, 'Would you want to DJ for a girl group?'" At that time, Spinderella aka Dee Dee Roper was still new to DJing, learning a few tricks from her high school boyfriend, who she accompanied on gigs. Soon, she began spinning on her own.

"Everyone had heard about me DJing – and that was a very rare thing back ...


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The Power of Sisterhood

Monday, February 27: 2:56 p.m.
Posted by Allison McClain
Spinderella meets with girls in the Sisterhood program

Recently, a group (Sisterhood) from West Side Community House in Cleveland's Sisterhood program visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum during one of the Museum's education programs. Here, Allison McClain, youth services director at the West Side Community House, explains how music and education come together in the Sisterhood program, and how a special visit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum made for an exciting experience for the girls in the program.

Sisterhood is an after school and summer program at West Side Community House for girls ages 10-15, and girls ages 16-18 can apply to the program as mentors. Sisterhood began as a pilot program in 2008 with a Call to Prayer grant from United Methodist Women. The mission of Sisterhood is to prepare girls for womanhood and their life beyond. Since 2008, the Sisterhood program has served hundreds of girls from the east and west side of Cleveland, providing girls with a safe space to talk about real issues and process ways to learn and grow from those issues. 

The school year curriculum is divided into five cycles: Social Skills and Self Esteem, Family Support and Outreach, Education and ...


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Chuck Berry and Keith Richards Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll

Monday, October 22: 2:05 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Chuck Berry and Keith Richards trade licks in "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll"

The concert held on October 16, 1986, to celebrate Chuck Berry's 60th birthday and later released as the rock documentary Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, directed by Taylor Hackford, featured a spellbinding lineup of musicians, including Eric Clapton, Etta James, original Berry keys man and blues-piano virtuoso Johnnie Johnson, sax extraordinaire Bobby Keys and Julian Lennon. It was a powerful show of reverence for rock and roll's poet laureate, a tribute as could only be orchestrated by the film's musical director and Berry fan: Keith Richards.

In his 2010 autobiography, Life, Richards shared a letter from April 1962 to his aunt Patty that recounts his introduction to Mick Jagger, writing: "You know I was keen on Chuck Berry and I thought I was the only fan for miles but one mornin' on Dartford Stn. … I was holding one of Chuck's records when a guy I knew at primary school 7-11 yrs [sic] y'know came up to me. He's got every record Chuck Berry ever made and all his mates have too, they are all rhythm and blues fans, real R&B I mean… he is called Mick Jagger." The letter goes on to ...


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Cleveland Soul: Interview with Lou Ragland

Wednesday, February 13: 2 p.m.
Posted by Carlo Wolff
Cleveland soul man Lou Ragland will appear live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Musician Lou Ragland was born in Cleveland in 1942. His first instrument was saxophone, his choice after rejecting his high school music teacher’s suggestion he play tuba. Inspired by everyone from Brahms to Nat “King” Cole to Ella Fitzgerald, Ragland locked onto soul at 13, when he heard Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers sing “Goody Goody.” 

In the early ‘60s, Ragland sang in the storied doo-wop group the Sahibs (along with Hesitations founder Art Blakey and current Hesitation George Hendricks, who taught Ragland rudimentary guitar). He first recorded with the Bandmasters, releasing “Never Let Me Go/Party in Lester’s” on Way Out in 1965. The group waxed that 45 at Cleveland Recording on Euclid Avenue. “The Bandmasters was the music and the Sahibs were the voices, and I sang lead, ” says Ragland, who also recorded for Way Out under the name Volcanic Eruption, with George Hendricks. 

“I was the first artist they produced on Way Out, but after they found out that I could engineer and play instruments, they didn’t do anymore on me,” says Ragland. “They didn’t want to lose me to the art world, they wanted me to pump out these songs.” Way Out ...


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Interview with 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee Bobby Womack

Monday, March 4: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Bobby Womack being interviewed at the Rock Hall, just weeks before his 69th birthday.

Born on March 4, 1944, Cleveland-native Bobby Womack grew into a soul and gospel legend whose contributions as a songwriter, singer and guitarist have kept him and his music relevant for decades. 

The son of a steelworker, Womack and his siblings got their start as a gospel group. On tour with the Soul Stirrers, the Womack brothers – Bobby, Cecil, Curtis, Harris and Friendly Jr. – were introduced to the Stirrer's lead singer, Sam Cooke. With a move from gospel to secular soul, Cooke asked the Womack brothers to join him in California, and 16-year-old Bobby Womack made the trip. 

Billed as the Valentinos, Bobby and his brothers cut two R&B classics: “Looking for a Love” (later covered by the J. Geils Band) and “It’s All Over Now.” The Rolling Stones’ cover of the latter song beat the Valentinos’ own version onto the charts, giving the Stones their second Top 40 hit in the States and first Number One hit in the U.K.

In the years following his work with Cooke, Womack would write songs recorded by Wilson Pickett (“I’m a Midnight Mover”), George Benson (“Breezin’”), Janis Joplin (“Trust Me”) and others. Pickett alone recorded 17 ...


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