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2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Linda Ronstadt Songs

Tuesday, April 8: 8:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Linda Ronstadt dominated popular music in the 1970s with a voice of tremendous range and power. She was one of the most important voices in the creation of country rock, in part because she understood how to sing traditional country songs like “Silver Threads And Golden Needles.” She regularly crossed over to the country charts in the ’70s, a rarity for rock singers. Working with producer Peter Asher, Ronstadt crafted a repertoire of songs that roamed throughout rock history that she interpreted with beautiful, precise phrasing. Ronstadt was especially good at singing early rock and roll; she had a long string of hits that revived interest in rock’s pioneers: Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” the Everly Brothers' “When Will I Be Loved” and Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day” among them. She was equally comfortable with Motown music and the beginning of new wave. Her finest work was the run of four consecutive platinum albums in the mid 70s: Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Prisoner In Disguise (1975), Hasten Down The Wind (1976) and Simple Dreams (1977). In the 1980s, she expanded her musical vocabulary by recording songs from the classic American songbook (What’s New, Lush ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Rolling Stones, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

2014 Hall of Fame Inductions: 5 Essential Cat Stevens Songs

Tuesday, April 8: 8:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The musical odyssey of Cat Stevens is well documented, from teenage London art school songsmith (“The First Cut Is The Deepest,” the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes My Baby”) to introspective cornerstone of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Who can measure the courage it took him in the late 70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world? He left his touring and recording life behind and named himself Yusuf Islam. Inevitably, many longtime fans abandoned him, and he found certain international borders closed and worse yet, controversies on his doorstep despite his humanist background. It was 17 difficult years between his final LP as Cat Stevens (1978’s Back To Earth), and the first CD as Yusuf and more than a decade until his first pop album in nearly 30 years (An Other Cup in 2006). “When I accepted Islam,” he told Rolling Stone, “a lot of people couldn’t understand. To my fans it seemed that my entering Islam was the direct cause of me leaving the music business, so many people were upset. However, I ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Rock and Roll, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

From Sam Cooke to Eric Clapton: 7 Degrees of "Danny Boy"

Monday, March 17: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Although it originated in Ireland, the tune and melody of "Londonderry Air" is known worldwide, its flowing cadence inextricably linked to Irish heritage. When English lawyer and songwriter Frederic Weatherly was introduced to the tune in 1913, he recast lyrics he'd previously penned to match the "Londonderry" melody, giving rise to "Danny Boy,"arguably the most celebrated version of the song.

For more than a century, the stirring folk ballad has been adapted by a diverse cast of performers, including various Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Here, we look at versions of "Danny Boy" by Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Jackie Wilson, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Eric Clapton.

Sam Cooke

Cooke cut a beautifully soul-infused version of "Danny Boy" for his 1958 self-titled debut album, adding a charismatic lilt to the arrangement.

Johnny Cash

Cash recorded a hauntingly solemn version of "Danny Boy" for his 1965 Columbia Records release Orange Blossom Special, an album that included various folk and country standards as interpreted by the incomparable Man in Black.

Jackie Wilson

Wilson, who could effortlessly transition from rock to blues to soul, transformed "Danny Boy" – reportedly one of his mother's favorite songs – in ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Fire and Rain"

Wednesday, March 12: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" is one of the Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll

James Taylor's 1970 hit single, and the album that spawned it, Sweet Baby James, helped launch the singer/songwriter boom of the early 70s. "Fire And Rain" reflected the movement's best qualities: limpid acoustic guitars, soulful double bass and Carole King's rippling piano are the backdrop for a sorrowful lament for a "lost" friend. More folk than rock, the song nevertheless boasts a deceptively tough edge, thanks to Russ Kunkel's popping drums and Taylor's in-your-face misery. The singer/songwriter era was often criticized as a self-indulgent, whiny time, but the best efforts, such as "Fire And Rain," could be as compelling as the blues.  Though just 22 when he achieved fame, Taylor already had many reasons to sing the blues.

Watch James Taylor perform "Love the One You're With" with David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills live at the 25th Anniversary Concerts!

The offspring of an affluent family with roots in both Boston and North Carolina, he'd been in and out of mental institutions and struggled with hard drugs. His first serious foray into music came with friend Danny Kortchmar in the group Flying Machine, mentioned in "Fire And Rain." His self-titled ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Today in Rock, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Bob Dylan Live at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival

Tuesday, March 11: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

In the time it took Bob Dylan and his hastily assembled band to play four songs, the course of popular music was changed forever. Dylan, the folk bard revealed his rock and roll roots in full. Any barriers that had existed between the genres, as well as the generations that had embraced them, were obliterated. What rock and roll could become and the risks an artist could take became limitless in a single stroke.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will open its latest featured exhibit, Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience on Friday, April 25, 2014. The exhibition will be an engaging look at the music festival as more than just an outdoor concert, but as a community experience. Whether it‘s forging human bonds, building a sense of community, providing broad exposure for musical artists or as one of the most important economic engines of the music industry, the story of the music festival is inextricably linked with music’s powerful cultural impact around the globe. Visit Common Ground: The Music Festival Experience to immerse yourself in this story.

Get more of the story at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives!


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Greatest Festivals in Rock and Roll History, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Exclusive Interview with Robby Krieger of the Doors: Remembering Ray Manzarek, reconnecting with John Densmore and the Doors' Greatest Moments

Saturday, December 7: 9 a.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
Robby Krieger

Over the course of a short career that only lasted a little more than five years, the Doors had a tremendous impact on rock and roll. They were a truly unique group, with a singer, Jim Morrison, who was a genuine poet with an almost mythical persona. Unlike most bands at the time, the Doors did not have a bass player. Ray Manzarek played the bass lines on his keyboards. John Densmore was a solid, steady drummer. And Robby Krieger was an elegant guitarist with a distinctive style unlike the blues-based guitar leanings favored by most his six-string peers. 20 years after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Robby Krieger sits down for an exclusive interview with the Rock Hall, reflecting on the passing of friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek, patching up differences with John Densmore, the Doors' greatest moments, where the Doors would've gone had Jim Morrison lived, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, what he's listening to now and more.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: First, let’s talk about Ray Manzarek’s death…. Did you see that coming? Had he been sick for a while?

Doors guitarist Robby Krieger with Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarak

Robby Krieger: Not really ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Today in Rock

The Byrds' Eulogy for John F. Kennedy: "He Was a Friend of Mine"

Friday, November 22: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Folk rock pioneers and 1991 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the Byrds

In the early Sixties, Roger McGuinn had been playing with David Crosby and Gene Clark, billing themselves as the Beefeaters. When Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke joined that group in December 1964, they changed their name to the Byrds. Folk rock pioneers, the Byrds were once described by McGuinn as "Dylan meets the Beatles.” Fittingly, the group's first single, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” was written by Bob Dylan and reached Number One. They'd score another Number One hit in 1966 with "Turn! Turn! Turn!," based on a Bible passage set to music by Pete Seeger, but it was McGuinn's inspired reframing of a traditional folk song that made a poignant statement on 1965's Turn! Turn! Turn! album, transforming "He Was a Friend of Mine" into a eulogy for John F. Kennedy, two years after he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

In 1965, the Byrds were charging forward, building their sound around the three-part harmonies of McGuinn, Clark and Crosby, and McGuinn's shimmering, jangling 12-string Rickenbacker guitar. Their album Turn! Turn! Turn! was released at the end of the year and its title track would go to Number One, but “He Was a Friend of Mine ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Today in Rock, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, History of Rock and Roll

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones Pay Tribute to the Everly Brothers on "Foreverly"

Tuesday, November 19: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Everly Brothers circa 1958

The Everly Brothers' sound borrowed from Appalachian folk, bluegrass and country to form a dreamy, innocent style of rock and roll. Over the decades – particuarly in the Fifties and Sixties – the Everlys’ close-harmony style influenced the likes of the Hollies, Simon and Garfunkel, the Byrds and the Beatles, with Paul McCartney noting “They were and still are the very best.” Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 1986, the Everly Brothers are featured in the Museum's Cities and Sounds exhibit, in the Rave On section. There, visitors to the Museum will find the outfits worn by the brothers on the cover of The Fabulous Style of the Everly Brothers, as well as a 1963 Gibson Everly Brothers model featuring a split pick guard surrounding the sound hole that was meant to represent the brothers’ familial resemblance.

Watch + Listen: Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones "Silver Haired Daddy of Mine"

While best-known for such hits as "Cathy's Clown," "Bye Bye Love,""Wake Up Little Susie," and "All I Have to Do Is Dream," in 1958, Don and Phil Everly surprised fans when they shifted tack, paying homage to their Tennessee roots. On Songs ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame
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