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Rock and Roll and the Vietnam War: 40 Years After Kent State

Thursday, May 6: 4:27 p.m.
Panelists from left to right: Country Joe McDonald, Dr. Lauren Onkey, Dr. Hugo Keesing, Doug Bradley

May 4, 1970 marked the 40th anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University, when four students were killed and nine wounded by the Ohio National Guard during student protests of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. As part of the commemorations, the Rock Hall’s Education department put together a panel at KSU on rock and roll and the Vietnam war. There are, of course, rock and roll songs about the Kent State shootings—most famously, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s single “Ohio”/”Find the Cost of Freedom,” recorded just weeks after May 4th. But I wanted to tell a wider story about the role that rock and roll played in our understanding of the Vietnam war, how protestors, soldiers, and civilians made sense of the war and its aftermath through the music. It was, as Samuel Freedman wrote, the first war to be “fought to a rock and roll soundtrack.”  

I spent the afternoon on the KSU campus, listening to the many speakers who came together as part of the commemoration. Speakers included Florence Schroeder, mother of slain student William Schroeder; Russ Miller, brother of slain student Jeffrey Miller; Joe Lewis, a student who was shot and wounded ...


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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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