The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


recording :: Blog

5 Unbelievable Facts About Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On"

Friday, January 16: 12:18 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Marvin Gaye What's Going On Album Cover Art Rock Hall Cleveland

Don't miss the Rock Hall's 14th annual free admission day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 19!

Released in the Spring of 1971, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On was a transformative recording for Gaye and his Motown label. The nearly operatic concept album mused deeply on such issues as Vietnam, drugs, the decline of northern cities, the economy and the environment, all over a free-flowing musical backdrop that drew on jazz, pop and classical forms. Gaye referred to the album as a “gift from God,” and the album’s spiritual dimension found overt expression in his liner notes: “We’ve got to find the Lord. Allow him to influence us. I mean, what other weapons have we to fight the forces of hatred and evil?” With his inimitable voice, he provided nuanced perspective that immediately resonated with audiences – and has so for generations.

"My phone would ring, and it’d Motown wanting me to start working and I’d say, ‘Have you seen the paper today? Have you read about these kids who were killed at Kent State?’ The murders at Kent State made me sick," explained Marvin Gaye. "I couldn’t ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Henry Rollins Weighs in on Cleveland's Punk Rock Past

Tuesday, January 13: 4:20 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Pere Ubu and David Thomas and Cleveland punk rock history

Recently, former Black Flag frontman, solo artist and writer Henry Rollins shared his top 10 underground songs of all time with Esquire magazine. So what does that have to do with Cleveland's rock history? Turns out, a lot.

DEVO Akron, Ohio, art rock "Whip It" yellow outfits Mark Motherbaugh at Rock HallMid-70s Cleveland was the perfect breeding ground for a band like Pere Ubu. The city had seen better days, and amid the post-industrial bleakness, a group of young creative men formed Pere Ubu. "Ohio was one of the most fertile grounds for what could be called underground music. I could make this list only using bands from this state and do just fine," Rollins said. "David Thomas, Pere Ubu's vocalist and leader of the band to this day, has been making records under the Pere Ubu moniker as well as solo for decades. He is one of my favorite performers, and I see him whenever the opportunity presents itself. The band's early singles are now fairly pricey items... What is true of [the Pere Ubu track] 'Final Solution' is true of this initial batch of Ubu. It is visionary stuff from the schools of rock, what would be called punk, and art, all mixing with time, place, and restless ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews

Who's Next: 2012 inductee Glyn Johns Shares the Incredible Story of The Who's 1971 album

Thursday, November 13: 8 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

To preview 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Glyn Johns' interview at the Rock Hall Library and Archives on Saturday, November 15 at 4 pm, we have an excerpt from Johns' new book, SOUND MAN: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, the Faces... (On sale November 13, 2014, Blue Rider Press).

Who's Next

The previous year, 1970, the Stones had started recording at Mick Jagger’s house out in the country, near Newbury. By this time, the Stones Truck was fully operational and we used the huge entrance hall of the Victorian pile that was Stargroves to record several tracks that were eventually used on Sticky Fingers. I had mentioned to Pete Townshend in conversation that these sessions had gone really well, so he suggested that we go there to start recording Who’s Next.

We began on the first day with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Not a bad way to start. With Pete’s permission, I edited the synthesizer track from his original demo, as it was a little too long, and played it in to the band in the studio. They performed live to it with ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Library and Archives, Event

5 Songs That Define the Sounds of the 1990s

Tuesday, November 11: 3:59 p.m.

Prodigy Firestarter music video singer 90s music

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Tom Dowd, Berry Gordy Jr., Les Paul, Sam Phillips and Phil Spector represent a 1950s and 1960s "recordist canon," pioneers of maverick recording methodologies responsible for shaping the sound of classic rock and roll. Their work not only forms the underpinning of rock music’s sonic characteristics, but also represents an oft-imitated body of audible stylistic, genre and aesthetic recording principles. Some of their radical, experimental and at times rebellious production techniques – Paul’s "Sound on Sound," Spector’s "Wall of Sound"and Phillips’ "Slap Echo" for example, have informed a continuum of established rock production standards.

However, the 1990s also marked a significant turning point in pop and rock sound recording. At a time when computer-based digital audio workstations (an electronic tool for recording, editing and producing audio files) were fast becoming the norm, many sound recordists of the era either rejected this new direction outright or blended technological and processual precursors into unconventional and individualized working practice. Such reinventions of technological and processual modes of production mirror those of the 1950s and 1960s ‘"recordist canon."

Here are 5 songs that helped define the sounds of the 1990s, and the producers who ...


continue Categories: Inductee, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, Event, Education, Exclusive Interviews

Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Paul Simon tells the story of "Mrs. Robinson"

Wednesday, October 29: 2:11 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Who was Mrs. Roosevelt and what's her relation to Mrs. Robinson? Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Where does Paul Simon come up with his lyrics?

What is the meaning of the lyrics to "Mrs. Robinson?" Paul Simon explains.

"So goodbye to Mrs. Roosevelt, all along the road down to glory hallelujah," Simon recites from an old handwritten lyric manuscript (pictured) featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's new exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music. "I don't think of what I do as writing poetry, but the language may have imagery in it."

Watch Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon talk about how "Mrs. Roosevelt" became the famous "Mrs. Robinson," the real background to the "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio" lyric and more:

Opening on October 30, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland's new exhibit Paul Simon: Words & Music will feature exclusive candid commentary gathered from hours of filmed interview footage that walks the audience through the personal story of Simon’s life and his creative process. This opening marks the Museum’s first-ever exhibit anchored by first-person narration by the artist. In addition to the autobiographical films, there will be videos of select performance highlights from Simon’s ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Library and Archives

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Fever"

Wednesday, September 17: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, revered Little Willie John, having opened shows for John early on and later recorded an entire album of his tunes, the 1968 tribute Thinking About Little Willie John and a Few Nice Things. Brown was just but one of many artists of the day who were influenced by John's gospel-charged R&B sound. The likes of Hall of Fame Inductees Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and Al Green all noted a musical debt to the man behind "Fever," and hits including "Sleep," "Talk To Me, Talk To Me" and "Leave My Kitten Alone" – the latter an early Beatles fave.

Spending his formative years raised in Detroit, Michigan, Little Willie John's stature belied his powerful voice. Signed to Syd Nathan's Cincinnati-based King Records in 1955, John cut the haunting, sultry "Fever" in 1956 at the tender age of 18. His smooth style presaged soul music. His delivery was passionate and dramatic, which paired with his melding of styles proved the perfect foil to such evocative lyricism.


Sadly, this polished, passionate artist suffered a sad fate: convicted of manslaughter in a post-gig fracas and sentenced to prison in 1966, he died under disputed circumstances ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, History of the Blues, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Hall of Fame, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Songs They Wish They'd Written with Ray Davies, Slash and St. Vincent

Tuesday, August 19: 12:17 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

the Supremes, Jimi Hendrix and Slash at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Clevleand, Ohio, exhibit

British music magazine NME recently published a feature asking more than two dozen performers what are the songs they'd wish they had written. The responses gathered from artists young and old, across genres, included nods to the likes of Bob Dylan ("It's Alright Ma(I'm Only Bleeding)"), David Bowie ("Ziggy Stardust" and "Life on Mars?"), James Brown ("Hot Pants" and "Cold Sweat"), Abba ("The Winner Takes It All"), the Beach Boys ("God Only Knows"), Ike and Tina Turner ("Nutbush City Limits") and more. (pictured, clockwise from left: Jimi Hendrix's 1967 Gibson Flying V dubbed "Love Drops;" Slash performs live at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony; dresses worn by the Supremes in 1969.)

"Cole Porter and Irving Berlin are just the best," Ray Davies of Hall of Fame Inductees the Kinks told NME. "Songs by Chuck Berry, Otis Redding and Hank Williams I love, too. Or anything Holland-Dozier-Holland did for the Supremes." All those artists – as well as the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland – are Hall of Fame Inductees and feature prominently in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sounds and Legends exhibits.

2012 Hall of Fame ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Bob Dylan, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Hall of Fame, Jimi Hendrix, Exclusive Interviews

In the Studio with Metallica Producer Flemming Rasmussen

Tuesday, August 5: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Metallica Ride the Lightning 1984 album cover Flemming Rasmussen producer interview

What was it like being in the studio with Metallica as they recorded some of their earliest albums: Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and … And Justice For All? Producer Flemming Rasmussen knows. Tapped by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton in 1984, Rasmussen was hired to produce Metallica's second studio album, Ride the Lightning. The thrash classic followed the band's 1983 debut, Kill 'Em All, and brought the band to Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, where they connected with Rasmussen.

On the 30th anniversary of Ride the Lightning, Flemming Rasmussen visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a trip to the region to deliver a keynote speech and master classes at Capital University's Music Technology Workshop. While in Cleveland, Flemming donated studio photos to the Rock Hall's Library and Archives, and sat down to talk about recording three seminal heavy metal recordings with 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Metallica, including the recording of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Master of Puppets," and what he believes is the best Metallica recording.

Rock Hall: How did you first start working with Metallica ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Inductee, Exclusive Interviews
Page 1 of 3. next