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Spotlight Exhibit :: Blog

Spotlight Exhibit: Joe Strummer's 1966 Fender Telecaster

Tuesday, August 21: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Joe Strummer with 1966 Fender Telecaster / photo by Masao Nakagami

The Clash possessed an indefinable chemistry that makes for a great band. Their explosive, uptempo punk-rock manifestos were unleashed with pure adrenaline and total conviction. Following the Sex Pistols’ dissolution in January 1978, the Clash became the central voice of the punk movement and remained at the forefront for five years. Their albums - The Clash (1977), Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978), London Calling (1979), Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982) - captured the tumult of the times with unerring instinct and raw power.

the Clash Joe Strummer signature Fender TelecasterRhythm guitarist Joe Strummer – born John Mellor in Ankara, Turkey, on August 21, 1952 – wrote most of the words and lead guitarist Mick Jones contributed much of the music. Bassist Paul Simonon’s background in painting and sculpture helped shape the band’s aesthetic overview. Topper Headon was a journeyman drummer who found his niche powering the Clash. “As a mix of personalities,” noted writer Lenny Kaye, “the Clash was a perfect engine.” They ran hottest on a concert stage, where all their political zeal and undaunted idealism found expression in music erupted with an exhilarating forcefulness. Lester Bangs described the Clash in concert as “a desperation uncontrived, unstaged, a fury unleashed on the stage and writhing ...


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Spotlight Exhibit: Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound"

Tuesday, August 28: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia beside a small portion of the "Wall of Sound" /photo by Richard Pechner

The Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" was among the band's greatest gifts to fans and a remarkable technical achievement. Powered by McIntosh amps, the Dead's "Wall of Sound" quite literally helped set the stage for some of the group's most triumphant live performances. In this clip, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer tells the story of its creation. Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip is on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012. Speakers and amplifiers from the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" are among the objects featured in the exhibit.


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Spotlight Exhibit: Grateful Dead at Giza

Monday, September 17: 10 a.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
Jerry Garcia and Donna Jean Godchaux of the Grateful Dead perform at Giza in 1978

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the story behind the Grateful Dead's performances at the Great Pyramid of Giza in 1978, including the dress vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux wore during one of the Grateful Dead's performances during the group's three-night engagement and the artwork created by Kerry to commemorate the occasion. Both items are featured in Grateful Dead: the Long, Strange Trip, on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, through 2012.


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Imagine"

Tuesday, October 9: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
John Lennon's "Imagine" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

"Imagine" became one of the enduring anthems of John Lennon's post-Beatles work. In an interview days before his death, he made a case for the brotherhood of man and woman: "That should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it – the lyric and the concept –came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit, her book; there's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and imagine that, and I have given her credit now long overdue." Ono downplayed her involvement, claiming the period was ripe for mutual inspiration. Lennon responded, "Yeah, but if it had been Bowie, I would have put 'Lennon/Bowie' if it had been a male, you know... but when we did it, I just put 'Lennon' because, you know, she's just the wife and, you know, you don't put her name on, right?" Co-produced by Lennon, Ono and Phil Spector, "Imagine" was recorded in July 1971 at John's home studio in Tittenhurst Park. It reached Number Three on Billboard's Hot ...


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Spotlight Exhibit: Chuck Berry Collection at the Library + Archives

Wednesday, October 17: 10:30 a.m.
Posted by Jennie Thomas
Chuck Berry UK tour program circa 1964 at the Rock Hall Library and Archives

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western Reserve University will honor rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry during the 17th annual American Music Masters® (AMM) series this October. Roll Over Beethoven: The Life and Music of Chuck Berry, a weeklong celebration beginning October 22 and culminating with a special tribute concert on October 27, will tell the story of one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

 As part of the celebration, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives has created a spotlight exhibit illustrating both essential and lesser known details about Berry’s life and career through materials such as concert posters, photographs, books, and audio and video of live performances – from his start with Johnnie “B. Goode” Johnson in the Sir John Trio in 1952 to his resurgence in the 1970s.

Chuck Berry performance invoice Ohio the Raspberries bandThe exhibit contains 14 items from the Museum’s permanent collections, including sheet music to his 1955 hit song “Maybellene” that helped ignite the rock and roll revolution; a promotional photograph for “School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)” from his first album After School ...


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Spotlight Exhibit: Chuck Berry's Handwritten Lyrics

Wednesday, October 17: 10:31 a.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday with two special exhibits

Among the first artists ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Chuck Berry is often referred to as the "Father of Rock and Roll" – a well deserved title, according to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer. In this clip, Kramer shares the handwritten lyrics to two of Chuck Berry's famous recordings: "Carol" and "School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)." The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday on October 18 with two special exhibits: a Chuck Berry Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and a special Chuck Berry exhibit at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives. Berry is the 2012 American Music Masters honoree, and his life and work will be celebrated with a weeklong series of events beginning on October 22, 2012 and culminating in a Chuck Berry–tribute concert on October 27, 2012.


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Spotlight Exhibit: 2-Tone Records

Tuesday, December 4: 5 a.m.
2 Tone is the focus of new Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

In this post, Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger, who traveled to the UK to collect and research for a new 2-Tone Records exhibit, shares background on the label and its lasting impact on popular culture.

Between 1979 and 1986, the 2-Tone label released 28 singles – 20 of which charted in the U.K. – including hits by the Specials, the Selecter, Madness, the Bodysnatchers and the Beat (known as the English Beat outside of the U.K.). Although only the English Beat –and to a lesser extent, Madness – ever had much success outside of the U.K., the 2-Tone movement combined infectious dance music and progressive ideals to confront the status quo. 2-Tone laid the groundwork for the success of such American artists as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Toasters, Fishbone, Smash Mouth, Sublime, Reel Big Fish, the Pietasters and the multi-platinum selling No Doubt.

Two Tone record label exhibit reggae punk ska2-Tone was a group of black and white kids from Coventry, Birmingham and London, England – white punk rockers and black rude-boys and -girls who stood against the economic policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government and the Neo-Nazi National Front, promoted racial harmony through the irresistible and exuberant rhythm of ska music and revolutionized ...


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