During a recent tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, we caught up with 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee, much-lauded solo artist, E Street Band guitarist and incredible storyteller Nils Lofgren who shared how he first became interested in playing the guitar, a faithful night seeing both the Who and Jimi Hendrix in concert, the influence of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones, the Beatles; and the "god awful" music he and Bruce Springsteen made while backing Chuck Berry in Cleveland at the Rock Hall's opening concert.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Your first instrument as a child was the classical accordion. How did that come about?
Nils Lofgren: Well, I spent eight years on the South Side of Chicago, where I was born. When I was five, every kid played accordion. I asked to take lessons, and I did. After the waltzes and polkas, you move in to classical or jazz. My teacher sent me in to classical accordion. It was an enormous musical study and backdrop, and, as a young teenager, I fell in love with the Beatles and Stones. Through them, I discovered the British invasion, the American counterpart of great rock bands in the 60s; Stax ...
This week marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon's deportation order being overturned by the United States government. To mark the occasion, Yoko Ono, Bono and the Edge of U2 were on hand for a ceremony on Ellis Island, where a giant tapestry depicting the island of Manhattan as a yellow submarine with a waving Lennon was unveiled. July 29 was declared John Lennon Day in NYC.
“They let him stay, and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here,” said Bono during a series of remarks.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York in September 1971. When his temporary visa expired in February 1972, the Nixon administration sought to have him deported, using a 1968 conviction for marijuana possession as ammunition. After a years-long battle, Lennon finally won the right to stay in the United States in 1975, receiving his green card in 1976. That green card, pictured above, is among the items featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Beatles exhibit.
"He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Tell us about some of the artists, bands who really influenced you…
Brendon Urie: Weezer… huge influence on me. I learned to play drums to the blue album [Weezer]. When I got that… I took it from my sister; I just had the cassette, and I remember just popping it in my boom box (that was still a thing, kids) and… I would just put on my really shitty headphones, and just kind of try to like… I had to tape them up, just so that they didn’t move, and just playing along for six hours. I would just listen to that album constantly. So, I mean every one of those songs… I wanted to start surfing, because of [“Surf Wax America”]… I wanted to live how they were describing their songs… how Rivers was, you know… and then later I would learn like, he’s this English major, went to college for literature and stuff… just a super smart guy. So, everything he’s singing about is a personal experience that’s true, and that really, truly affected me and songwriting as I got older. I wanted to do that, I wanted ...
For over three years, the Milwaukee quartet Vinyl Theatre have been growing a loyal fan base with frenetic live shows driven by the group's imminently danceable rock. With clear reverence for post-punk sounds of the 80s and earning comparisons to such contemporaries as the Killers and Death Cab for Cutie, Vinyl Theatre released their debut full-length Electrogram on Fueled by Raman in 2014.
The Rock Hall caught up with Vinyl Theatre drummer Nick Cesarz on the eve of his group's live Sonic Sessions concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on July 21, 2014.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Can you describe the moment you knew you wanted to make music or play in a band?
Nick Cesarz: I was very young, maybe 8, and I saw the Blue Man Group for the first time. I even got to meet them. After seeing the show, I wanted to try playing drums. When I reached the 5th grade, my name was picked of a hat to play percussion in the school band. I had some good luck that week!
RRHOF: What was the first album you bought with your own money?
NC: Led Zeppelin ...
When Alternative Press was founded in 1985, mainstream music publications just didn't cover music on the fringes – punk, new wave, hardcore. That music had yet to be labeled "alternative," and its fans had few sources for information. Alternative Press set out to change that.
Truly a magazine written by and for diehard music fans, Alternative Press celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015. The Rock Hall caught up with Alternative Press founder Mike Shea to talk about why he was angry about the Smiths, the earliest days of AP, punk rock clubs, an offer from Madonna and finally saying "screw it."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Why did you start Alternative Press?
Mike Shea: I started AP because two things: I was bored, and also, I was angry. I was really mad because the Smiths, in 1985, were not coming to Cleveland. They were touring the U.S., and they didn’t have a Cleveland gig, and I was upset about that and I wanted to know why. So, the short of it is… I ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sir Paul McCartney surprised Beatles fans by sharing exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where he inducted longtime friend and bandmate Ringo Starr.
The four-minute video, which was shared on McCartney's YouTube channel, begins with McCartney arriving at Cleveland’s Public Hall, later delivering a rousing: “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, baby. Cleveland. Oh yea!”
Several inductees are featured in the video, including Stevie Wonder, who embraces McCartney and congratulates Starr. The two Beatles joke with Wonder, saying: “We’re reforming the group, man. You want to join?” We're sure the world would love to see that happen.
After a quick photo-op with 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, McCartney joins nearly all of the 2015 inductees, performers and presenters onstage to rehearse the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends,” from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then, McCartney, Ringo and Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Walsh run through Starr’s 1971 single, “It Don’t Come Easy.”
After a clip of McCartney and Walsh reliving their glory ...
Chris Squire changed the way rock musicians thought about the bass guitar – taking the melodic style established by the Who's John Entwistle and pushing into an entirely new level. His bass had a clean sustained tone that frequently moved back and forth between the high and low registers of the instrument. And all the time Squire was singing beautiful vocal harmony with the rest of the band (and with a completely different melody from the bass).
I'm the Rock Hall's senior director of education, and I'm also a longtime fan of Yes. I can tell you with ultimate clarity the first time I heard the music of Yes on the radio while I was in high school. I imagine it was the same way that many fans of my age did, through the sound of “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” in 1983. That song has always sounded so modern to me (due in part to the stellar production of Trevor Horn), and a key feature of what hooks you in is the foundational bassline played by Squire: it’s simple, memorable and slides right into the groove. When it finally changes up at the two-minute mark ...
With the patriotic pageantry, fireworks, barbecues and neighborhood gatherings that come with the 4th of July just around the corner, Rock Hall staff crafted the ultimate playlist as the soundtrack to all things Americana and celebrations of summertime fun.
The 50-song list covers a lot of musical territory, from 50s to today, blues, pop, punk, R&B, jazz and some classic rockers, of course. Inductees feature prominently – Alice Cooper, Sly and the Family Stone, Young Rascals, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, the Ramones, among many others – but so do other artists who've made their mark with sunny revelations: Kool and the Gang, Chicago, the Undertones, the Surfaris, Lovin' Spoonful, Billy Idol, Afrojack and, yes, Katy Perry.
Get the Rock Hall's Ultimate 4th of July playlist via Spotify.
In the meantime, here are three tracks that are so routinely misinterpreted – and we included some deliberately in our list! – we just had to give the backstory.
Arguably the most misappropriated song in rock and roll history, "Born in the USA" has been the anthemic backdrop to countless episodes of fist-pumping demonstrations. Anti-Muslim protestors chanted the chorus while picketing the site ...