I was just an elementary school kid when I first heard “Dance to the Music,” Sly and the Family Stone’s first hit single, in spring 1968. The song was on the radio all the time. If it wasn’t on the Top 40/pop stations WIXY or CKLW, you just had to dial up to WJMO or WABQ, the R&B/ soul stations, to hear Cynthia Robinson’s cheeky introductory demand: “Get up and dance to the music! Get on up and dance to the funky music!”
Cynthia Robinson was one half of the horn section of the Family Stone and the de facto MC – that’s MC in the early days of hip-hop sense – the “mic controller” who would punctuate dance tracks with enjoinders to “get up” or “get down” to the music to keep dancers engaged and moving on their feet. Cynthia was doing it 10 years before the Sugarhill Gang or Grandmaster Flash dropped their first beat.
That’s just one more way that Cynthia was ahead of her time, a pioneer, showing the rest of us the way. She was a strong female presence in a band – not a vocalist, as was the usual position ...
The New York Times once declared that Darlene Love's “thunderbolt voice is as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton's guitar or Bob Dylan's lyrics.” A bold statement, but fitting for popular music's greatest sessions vocalist and backup singer – and among the most recognizable voices in rock and roll history. “I never pushed to be a star,” she told writer David Hinckley in 1992. “I didn’t want to. I had my home, my family. Session work let you do the music and leave.”
Among rock cognoscenti, Love is best known for “He’s a Rebel,” a song credited to the Crystals that was in actuality sung by Love and her vocal group, the Blossoms. That's a story unto itself. With the Blossoms, Love sang with the likes of Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Mamas and the Papas, Duane Eddy, Sonny and Cher, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Luther Vandross and Dionne Warwick. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
“One time I had to make a list of all the people I’ve worked for,” Love recalled in a 1985 Goldmine interview. “The ...
Bobby Keys was one of the definitive sax players in the history of rock and roll. He played with seminal artists such as Buddy Holly, Del Shannon and Little Anthony and the Imperials, as well as some of the most influential UK bands of the 60s and 70s, including John Lennon.
Keys really was a link between the beginning of rock and roll and the British Invasion. He was also a crucial element of the Rolling Stones’ sound, making his mark on such tracks as "Brown Sugar." He played with the Stones so often and for so long that he’s really a part of the band.
It was a honor to have Keys in Cleveland for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Annual Music Masters tribute to the Rolling Stones in 2013. He was an essential part of that program. Click here to view pictures from that unforgettable concert, including the time Bobby Keys performed alongside Chuck D. of Public Enemy.
Moreover, Bobby Keys was a genuinely warm, funny big-hearted man who’ll be missed tremendously.
Recorded backstage at the 2013 Music Masters, this video interview with Bobby Keys and Steve Jordan has the musicians trading stories ...
What do Chet Atkins, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Graham Nash, the Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day have in common? As the above infographic illustrates, each has a connection to the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Music Masters honorees the Everly Brothers.
Click the image above for a free illustrated history of the Everly Brothers infographic download!
"It's impossible to imagine popular music without the Everly Brothers," said 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Donovan in a recorded tribute to the brotherly duo to be honored at the Rock Hall's annual Music Masters event on Saturday, October 25, 2014. "I am influenced tremendously by Don and Phil [Everly], and their incredible recordings."
Although Donovan will not be in Cleveland for the week of events surrounding this year's Music Masters, the Saturday tribute concert will include performances by Hall of Fame Inductee Graham Nash, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, JD Souther, Emmylou Harris, Albert Lee, Keb' Mo', Shelby Lynne, Secret Sisters, Alison Krauss, Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Dawn McCarthy, Allison Moorer and more. Get details on the week of Music Masters events celebrating 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the Everly Brothers, including tickets for the tribute concert!
Watch Donovan sing a stripped-down acoustic version of the Everly Brothers' "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)."
(pictured: Donovan visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2012, the year of his induction.)
Peter Gabriel’s influence is so widespread we may take it for granted. When the rest of rock was simplifying in the new wave days, the former Genesis frontman blended synthesizers and a signature gated drum sound with an emotional honesty learned from soul music to create a sensibility that would influence artists from U2 to Arcade Fire to Depeche Mode. With extraordinary ambition, Gabriel transitioned from cult artist to multimedia pop star to global rock icon. His WOMAD festival has been a 33-year laboratory for musical cross-pollination. His brilliant stage shows inspired U2’s and Flaming Lips’ and expanded the visual vocabulary of music videos with clips such as “Sledgehammer,” “Shock The Monkey” and “Big Time.” In addition, he wrote songs like “Don’t Give Up,” “Red Rain” and “In Your Eyes” that put heart and soul on the radio at a time when those values were in short supply. Four decades on as a solo artist, Gabriel continues to push the boundaries of popular music and challenge audiences across the globe.
Here are 5 essential Peter Gabriel songs:
"Solsbury Hill" (1977)
"Solsbury Hill" captured the emotions of Peter Garbiel's departure from Genesis. As tension built during Genesis ...
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when more than a quarter million people converged in the then largest demonstration in the United States capital. It was a triumph of unity and a moment – like many revolutionary episodes – that seized on the power of song to help make sense of its gravitas. The diverse cast of voices on August 28, 1963 included Marian Anderson, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul and Mary. However, it was gospel legend Mahalia Jackson who, at the request of Martin Luther King Jr., helped set the stage for among the world's greatest recordings: the "I Have a Dream" speech.
"If [Martin Luther] King gave the movement a vision, Mahalia Jackson gave it a voice," wrote history and culture scholar Craig Werner in A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America.
The inimitable voice of 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Mahalia Jackson resonated far and wide, her bracing soprano and interpretation of gospel making her a familiar name among black and white audiences. She found stardom without making secular songs, becoming the first gospel artist to sing at Carnegie Hall in ...
I began my internship at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Library and Archives expecting to be busy with basic preservation tasks and minor conservation duties, such as creating enclosures for documents and rehousing materials. What I ended up doing instead was much more exciting, and it provided me with a much richer internship experience than I ever imagined.
I began by preparing the conservation lab, creating a conservation policy and expanding on the Library and Archives’ existing conservation manual. With everything in place, it was time to work on the collection most in need of treatment: the Les Paul Papers. The papers were in rough shape at the time of acquisition, as many of the documents and files were moldy and covered in rust from old staples and paper clips. The items with the most obvious mold damage were bagged and placed in quarantine until they could be cleaned, but mold seemed to be everywhere I looked in the collection.
Cleaning mold is not a simple task and requires special care and technique. Wearing personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, mask and apron, I carefully cleaned each item in the collection with conservation grade sponges ...