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Remembering “Rock and Roll Reviver” Richard Nader

Thursday, December 10: 9:20 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock Hall

As the world turns and we get further and further away from those early days of rock and roll…or the Big Bang Period as I often refer to it…it seems that we lose another pioneer almost daily.  This week is a sad one as we mourn the passing of a man who drew attention back to a whole generation of artists, many of which continue to shine brightly today.  I speak of Richard Nader, the impresario of the “Rock and Roll Revival Shows” which featured all of the great acts that at that time were only 10 or so years from their heyday…but had been shoved into the shadows, obscured by the British Invasion, the rise of folk rock, the advent of the summer of love and the psychedelic craze that followed and so on.  I speak of Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, the Five Satins, the Moonglows, the Penguins, Jackie Wilson, the Shirelles, the Platters and many more.

The Rock and Roll Revival Shows held at Madison Square Garden were a huge success with almost all of the original 25 selling out in this mother of all venues.  I was lucky enough to be at ...


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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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Rock Hall Designates Austin City Limits as an Official Rock and Roll Landmark

Thursday, October 8: 4:24 p.m.
Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs at the Rock Hall

second photo caption: ACL was designated a rock and roll landmark on October 1, 2009.

The Rock Hall’s Landmark Series designates historic rock and roll landmarks around the United States that are essential to tell the story of rock and roll music.

There are currently nine sites including the Whisky-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles where the Doors were resident performers; King Records in Cincinnati, a prominent American record label started in the 40s, The Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi and the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa . Five sites are located in the Cleveland area and include Brooklyn High School, the location Elvis played his first concert north of the Mason-Dixon line and WJW Radio, home to Deejay Alan Freed who popularized the term “rock and roll.”

On Friday, October 2nd, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum made its 10th Landmark dedication at the studio of Austin City Limits in Austin, Texas. Now in its 35th year, the show is the longest-running music program on television. A number of Rock Hall staff traveled to Austin for the dedication.

You can see footage of the landmark dedication by clicking here.

ACL has presented a diverse and original array of ...


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Hanson Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Wednesday, October 7: 4:25 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Hanson visit the Rock Hall.

Rock Hall President and CEO Terry Stewart talks with Hanson about Chuck Berry, Leon Russell and more.

Had a great visit with some old (relatively speaking) friends of the Museum, Hanson.  These guys are incredible music lovers and self-described music geeks.  They first toured the museum almost 10 years ago when they had their break-out record.  Since then they’ve been back several times.  Yesterday they were doing a short performance and signing of their new book. Then they came down to our offices and we had a conversation about how much they love classic rock and the artists from the 50s like Chuck Berry.  In turn, it led to an interesting discussion about an artist who has a lot of influence on them, Leon Russell.  They wanted to know about the nominating process because they know I’m on the committee. I explained to them that Leon is an tremendously gifted musician, singer, producer, etc.  and really qualifies in two categories – Performer and Sidemen.  In fact, during the past year, we received numerous communications from fans and inductees and others lobbying for his induction in either of these categories. We spent some time talking about his varied and long ...


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The Beat Goes On

Wednesday, September 30: 4:52 p.m.
Posted by Greg Harris
Greg Harris, vice president of development at the Rock Hall

Over the weekend we commemorated the passing of a longtime member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Barry O’Brien was not a performer, producer or record executive.  He was a Fan. I attended his memorial on Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom with hundreds of family and friends. We were honored that his widow Janis and daughter Kirin invited the Hall of Fame to participate in this celebration of Barry’s life. There are so many things in this world that divide us but music has this incredible power to unite us and to build up a strong sense of community.

Barry loved rock and roll music and was a strong supporter of our nonprofit mission.  He was part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Family—he was a longtime member of the Roll Hall and helped us to celebrate the opening of the Museum some 15 years ago.  Just a few weeks ago he called us to reserve tickets to our upcoming Janis Joplin Tribute Event at Playhouse Square.

Passion for music connects many of us and we are honored to have been a part of Barry’s life and thrilled that he was part ...


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Johnnie Carter’s Voice Lives On

Wednesday, September 2: 5:09 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
The Dells. L-R: Mickey McGill, Chuck Barksdale, Marvin Junior, Johnnie Carter, Vern Allison

As many of you may know, I’ve always felt strongly about the Dells and their place in the history of rock and roll. This past Sunday, I attended a memorial service in honor of the passing of two-time Rock Hall Inductee John Edward Carter.  It was a wonderful evening, but a very sad occasion. Best known as one of the greatest tenor voices in popular music, Carter was a founding member of the Flamingos and a member of the Dells – the longest running vocal group in history with virtually the same members throughout their career.

Carter’s memorial service was held at Bethlehem Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Harvey, Illinois. The crowd that came to pay respect to the late singer overflowed from the church and into a side room where the two-hour service was also simulcast. Numerous personal tributes and proclamations were read along with several moving musical performances. Among one of the most memorable was that of Gerald Alston of the Manhattans, who performed “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” a gospel hymn that brought the crowd to their feet singing in a joyous outpouring of emotion. An explosive eulogy was delivered by Elder John Holley.

The ...


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Rock Hall’s Curatorial Director Talks about Rock and Roll and “the Latin tinge”

Friday, August 28: 5:31 p.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer

Jelly Roll Morton, the self-proclaimed inventor of Jazz, spoke of “the Latin tinge” in music. It was always there, as far as he was concerned. It’s also true with rock and roll. In the Fifties in Los Angeles, Latinos there embraced early rhythm and blues and vocal group harmony. Ritchie Valens was a high school kid from the San Fernando Valley who played guitar and was crazy about Little Richard. Consider this – Valens’ professional career lasted barely six months. Here we are, more than 50 years after his untimely death, and his influence can still be felt. He was only 17 when he died. When I look at photos of Valens, I see a pudgy kid with spotty skin and a glowing smile, slinging a Stratocaster and oozing confidence. We have one of his stage outfits on display here in the Rave On case. It’s a two-piece vest and pants set with rhinestones trimming the lapel of the vest. He bought it at Nudie’s, the famous Western wear tailor in North Hollywood. Hank Williams and Elvis Presley wore clothes from Nudie. To me, that sort of encapsulates how cool Valens was. That and his enduring music, of ...


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The Late, Great Les Paul

Friday, August 21: 5:40 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

Terry Stewart, the president and CEO of the Rock Hall, and I just returned from New York City, where we attended a funeral service and memorial reception for the late, great Les Paul. The service, which was held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on Madison Avenue, was very moving. Various family members reminisced about Les, as did Lou Pallo, Les’ longtime guitar sidekick and friend; Ron Sturm, who runs the Iridium Jazz Club, where Les played two shows every Monday night; and Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitar. There were several common themes: how sweet and loving  Les was and how quick-witted he was, always ready to take a jab at someone. Les’ trio – Pallo, bass player Nicki Parrott and piano player John Colianni – performed between the reminiscences, closing the funeral with the very apt “Vaya Con Dios (May God Be With You).” As Les’s son Russ told me, “Les had a very big plate and through his life he filled it with many great things. It’s our job to make sure we continue to share that plate with everyone.” Tony Bennett, Slash, Richie Sambora, Jose Feliciano, Neal Schon, Brad Whitford and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter ...


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