by Jim Holthouser, executive vice president, global brands, Hilton Worldwide
By nature of their profession, rock and roll artists live their lives on the road. Throughout history, they have left their mark on cities and people around world, traveling across continents and cultures to perform their music. And their fans follow.
While I am not exactly a rock star, I can relate to the passion these musicians feel. I am the executive vice president of global brands for Hilton Worldwide, and as a classically trained pianist, I know the power that music has to inspire, entertain and educate an audience. I incorporate music into presentations and speeches with my colleagues globally to connect with them on a more emotional level. This connection is a key component of the hospitality industry – and helps ensure that guests have a positive personal experience with our hotels when they stay with Hilton.
With the opening of Hilton Cleveland Downtown just around the corner, there’s a lot of excitement about Cleveland within the walls of Hilton, but today I’m excited about another important opening: the Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics exhibit here at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ...
What does it take to preserve rock and roll history? Jun Francisco knows.
Since 1999, Francisco has been the Director of Collections Management at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Born half way around the globe in the Philippines, he grew up listening to rock and roll fed to him by a radio station called “the Rock of Manila." His role allows him to be a fan and an in-demand expert.
He received his MA in Museum Studies from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and a BA in History from Missouri Southern State University. He has worked at museums in Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan, New York and Ohio, and has served on the Boards of the Association of Midwest Museums, Arkansas Museums Association and Michigan Museums Association. He is a past chair of the Asian Pacific Professional Interest Committee of the American Alliance of Museums. He also loves the Clash.
Having just managed collections for the Rock Hall's new 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee exhibit – including a trip to Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen's house – Francisco had a few minutes to tell us about his adventures.
As the Rock Hall's director of collections, what ...
The Who continue to perform “My Generation” in their 2016 tour dates, even with that line about hoping to die before they get old. And with Mick Jagger becoming a great-grandfather in 2014, rock culture really is thumbing its nose at the idea of growing old gracefully.
So if grandpas these days can be rockers, maybe our associations of rock = rebelliousness = youth have collapsed altogether. Or perhaps we have actually become accustomed to the idea that “youth” is an attitude, not a chronological stage in the human life cycle. From that point of view, a rock & roll pose of “sticking it to the man” is available to anyone, even “the man” himself.
While the spirit of rock & roll lives on in lots of teen subcultures and inspires many new bands, it’s also true that kids who grow up rocking out alongside their parents think of this music as … well, old.
If you play Metallica to your baby in the cradle, he might grow up thinking of “Enter Sandman” as a nostalgic song that brings back sweet memories of bedtime.
The recent rise in child stars who rock out note-perfect versions of Van Halen guitar solos and Keith Moon drum ...
I was born just a hair too late for the Jackson 5, so the first time I listened to Michael Jackson was probably around 1974, when he and Roberta Flack sang that charming and funny duet "When We Grow Up" in the cartoonish kids' bedroom in "Free to Be . . . You and Me." I was in high school in the 80s, and watched MTV all the time, so "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" were inescapable. Regrettably, back then, I was kind of a classic rock snob, so I paid most attention to "We Are the World," because Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan were on it. In the early 90s, when I became a music writer, I made up for it and fell hard for Off the Wall and Thriller.
Then when my daughter, Rose, was 4 or 5, she fell in love with "Goin' Back to Indiana," and we had to listen to it 400 times a day. That eventually brought us to "Billie Jean," which we watched on YouTube together, over and over. It's just mesmerizing.
How does Michael make his body do those things? How does he get his leg so high? How does he look like he ...
The Rock Hall's award-winning education department debated, arm-wrestled and ultimately high-fived their way into answering one impossible question: what song is each 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's definitive track? A tall order, to be sure, but here goes it:
Deep Purple – "Smoke on the Water" (1972)
Seriously. That riff. Who can't hum it? Formed in London in 1968, Deep Purple embraced the sounds of progressive rock, psychedelia-influenced blues and heavy metal, but the group of musicians always fit squarely within the hard rock genre that they helped solidify. Back to that guitar riff – a distinctive, repeated melody with a driving rhythm that builds a song's energy. The opening to Purple's "Smoke on the Water" is arguably the most famous riff in rock history. All credit to guitar extraordinaire Ritchie Blackmore, who took four simple chords and transformed it into a monster of a melody. But it wasn't just the notes. The rhythm of the riff is equally important: Blackmore mutes—or forcibly stops—the chords strategically to highlight the song's backbeat, which anticipates Ian Paice's drumbeat. Add a liberal dose of distortion to Blackmore's guitar and boom!: hard rock history ...
The January 29, 1976 Rolling Stone headline read "Indonesian Nightmare Strikes Deep Purple." Journalist Peter Crescenti wrote in the opening paragraph: "Tragedy and mayhem struck the Deep Purple tour December 4th in Jakarta, Indonesia, when one of the group's road crew, Patsy Collins, a well-loved celebrity of the British rock scene and guitarist Tommy Bolin's bodyguard, was killed in a six-story fall down a service elevator shaft at the band's hotel."
It's a story steeped in Rock Hall lore and a Deep Purple story that's horrific and fascinating. The news report caught my eye as I was pulling items for the 2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee exhibit, rare items from the Rock Hall's Library & Archives that tell the story of this year's inductees. But as I poured over Crescenti's original drafts (complete with edit notes) for the article that later ran in Rolling Stone, the story increasingly piqued my curiosity.
Was Collins' death was part of a set-up that included scamming the band out of the concert proceeds? Who were the eyewitnesses, and how much did they actually see? What happened to Collins' body, especially considering the fact that the ...
Metallica looking very metal in 1986 / photo by Ross Halfin / via metallica.com
As a child of the 80s, my first intro to Metallica came via MTV's Headbangers Ball, specifically the video for ...And Justice for All's epic metal anthem "One." Shot mostly in black-and-white, with scenes and dialogue from Johnny Got His Gun interspersed with the group thrashing in an abandoned warehouse, the video was intense, creepy, brutal – and all the other superlatives that inspired shock and awe in my impressionable young mind. I was hooked with full-on Beavis & Butt-head excitement. Like any enterprising adolesccent metalhead, I was soon fully immersed in Metallica's first three albums: Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. To the chagrin of my parents and their eardrums, the latter became my favorite. On the 30th anniversary of its release, listening to Master again took me headbanging down memory lane.
Master of Puppets not only pushed the limits of the metal genre in terms of sheer musicianship and creative force, but also redefined the paths to success and critical acclaim.
Metallica's meteoric ascent began in earnest with the release of 1983's Kill 'Em All, introducing the band ...
When Afrika Bambaataa & the Soulsonic Force's "Planet Rock" dropped in 1982, it was nothing short of a revelation. In its cool grooves, the Bronx and Manhattan collided with a message for the citizens of One World. The lyrics were upbeat and utopian: "Party people, can y'all get funky!" The music – based around the rhythms of Kraftwerk's 1977 Krautrock hit "Trans-Europe Express" – was electronic and, in fact, funky. Hip-hop's first self-conscious art record suggested just how far this new musical sound could go. This was the Star Trek take on science fiction: harmonious, multicultural, with technology connecting people rather than alienating or threatening them.
And its rhythmic core? The Roland TR-808 drum machine, a hugely flawed, relatively inexpensive piece of early 80s technology that forever transformed the modern musical landscape of many styles – hip-hop, electro, dance, techno, pop, rock and industrial, among others.
808 The Movie tells the story of this unlikely musical hero, and I caught up with producer Alex Noyer to get the inside story on why he and his crew were inspired to make the film and the surprising stories they heard from the likes of Bambaataa, Phil Collins, Fat Boy Slim, the Beastie ...