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Fan Picks: Old School Beastie Boys!

Friday, January 29: 10:45 a.m.
Posted by Rachel Keck

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Beastie Boys exhibit in Cleveland

As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland unveils its new Beastie Boys collection, we sat down with Rock Hall curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger to find out why curating this exhibit was personal.

RRHOF: Do you remember the first time you heard the Beastie Boys?

MR: I lived in New York City in the late 70s and early 80s. I worked at a record store and one day when I went to work there was this crazy thing on the turntable that was somebody prank calling a Carvel store and then it turned into this rap song. And [the song] kept repeating –"Cookie Puss, Cookie Puss" - which was the tasty treat that Carvel ice cream stores made. I immediately had to find out what this record was because it was just so funny, and it turned out it was the Beastie Boys. I fell in love. I was like, "Who are these kids?! This is so genius!"

So curating the new Beastie Boys exhibit at the Rock Hall must have been a trip down memory lane...

This is really the first time that I've worked on an exhibit with an artist that I've watched from the very ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock: The Eagles' "Take It Easy"

Thursday, January 21: 2:52 p.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Glenn Frey live concert photograph RIP

Photo: Glenn Frey, ca. 1994, photographer unknown. From the Jeff Gold Collection at the Rock Hall's Library & Archives.

It's been a rough start to 2016 for rock fans mourning the loss of two Hall of Fame Inductees: David Bowie and Glenn Frey. Tributes have poured in from around the globe, a testament to the lasting impact and widespread influence of the music each created. Last week, we looked back on some of the David Bowie songs that shaped rock and roll, and this week it's only fitting we rewind to one of the Eagles' most enduring hits: "Take It Easy."

Guitarist Glenn Frey was a rocker from Detroit who headed to Los Angeles, where he befriended fellow musicians Jackson Browne and John David Souther. Drummer Don Henley and Frey met while backing Linda Ronstadt. Guitarist Bernie Leadon had previously done time with Gram Parsons and  Chris Hillman in the Flying Burrito Brothers; bassist Randy Meisner was a founding  member of Poco with Richie Furay and had played in Rick Nelson's Stone Canyon Band.  And they had all played together on Ronstadt's Silk Purse. No wonder they sounded accomplished from the get-go.

Decades later, in 2014 ...


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The Fabulous Friendship of David Bowie and Jane Scott

Wednesday, January 20: 5:44 p.m.
Posted by Anastasia Karel

autographed David Bowie photo with Cleveland Jane Scott Plain Dealer reporter

Pictured: Jane Scott with David Bowie in the late 70s during one of his Isolar tour stops. Did you see him perform on the Isolar or Isolar II tours?

I’m an archivist at the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives. I'm also a diehard music fan and collector. Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite – I've seen him in concert 60 times – but David Bowie was the first artist that I collected on vinyl. I believe that Bowie is one of those artists whose work should be owned in its original format, if only because of the cover art and sense that you're holding a piece of history. Unfortunately, I never saw Bowie in concert and didn't dive into his entire catalog as so many fans did, and yet, now that he is gone, I realize just how much he was a presence in my life.  And this week, it just so happened that my job created a collision of Bowie, Cleveland, and women in rock journalism.

My days involve a fair amount of detective work, such as forming connections between documents to describe a moment in rock history. One collection that will provide endless opportunities ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Library and Archives, History of Rock and Roll, Exhibit

The Surprising Stories Behind Four Bowie Classics

Monday, January 11: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

David Bowie Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Most Popular David Bowie Songs

It's rare to talk of an artist truly being without equal, but that's exactly who David Bowie was. A remarkable visionary, Bowie was a font of wild creativity, a transformative presence constantly evolving to address and help define our times. His art entertained, challenged and enlightened us all - and that will be an enduring legacy celebrated for many generations to come.

With tributes to the 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee powering in from around the world, we take a look at the stories behind four classic David Bowie songs and fan favorites: "Fame," "Space Oddity," "Changes" and "Ziggy Stardust."

David Bowie Young Americans album the story of David Bowie's "Fame" recording

David Bowie and John Lennon Break into "Fame" ... and Lennon Forgets It

Two weeks after finishing the mix on a David Bowie album called The Gouster, one of the producers, Tony Visconti, got a call from the artist: "David phoned to say that he and John Lennon had got together one night and recorded this song called "Fame." I hope you don't mind, Tony, but it was so spontaneous and spur of the moment... He was very apologetic and nice about it, and he said he hoped I wouldn't mind...I said that it ...


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Madonna Shares Wild Story of First David Bowie Concert

Monday, January 11: 12:52 p.m.
Posted by Madonna

Madonna inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 speech and video

Before I saw David Bowie live, I was just your normal, dysfunctional, rebellious teenager from the Midwest, and he has truly changed my life.

I’ve always had a sentimental attachment to David Bowie, not just because I grew up with his music, but it’s because it was the first rock concert that I ever saw, and it was a major event in my life. I planned for months to go and see it. I was 15 years old, it was the end of the school year, and leading up to the week of the show, I begged my father and he said, “I absolutely refuse, over my dead body, you’re not going there, that’s where horrible people hang out,” so of course I had to go. So my best friend spent the night at my house and when we thought everyone was asleep, we snuck out of my window, which was no mean feat, as I was wearing my highest platform shoes and a long black-silk cape. Don’t ask.

We couldn’t drive, so we hitch-hiked into Detroit and I don’t know who was scarier ... the drivers that picked us up, or us in ...


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Talking Heads' David Byrne Reflects on Music of David Bowie

Monday, January 11: 12:35 p.m.
Posted by David Byrne

David Byrne of Talking Heads Inducts David Bowie into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996

When David Bowie came along, well, rock and roll needed a shot in the arm and when I first saw him it was a shock, and yet it was very familiar. It was very necessary. It was something that was needed. It was essential. And like all rock and roll, it was tasteless, it was glamorous, it was perverse, it was fun, it was crass, it was sexy, it was confusing. And like all rock and roll, it was freedom, it was pain, it was liberation, it was genocide, it was hope, it was dread, it was a dream and it was a nightmare.

It was about sex and drugs, it was about combining literature with rock and roll, with art, with anything you could name. It was about sex as an idea, and sex as a reality, and sex as a liberating force. It was about rebellion, it was about rebellion as a cliché, it was rebellion as an idea. It was about rebellion as a billboard, as an advertisement. It was about the joy of reckless prophecy. It was ironic when rock and roll became self-reverential. It was about joy and terror and confusion in our lives. It ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock: David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust"

Thursday, January 7: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars Album Cover David Bowie Rock Hall

Who was Ziggy Stardust, anyway? According to Bowie: "''Ziggy' was my Martian messiah who twanged a guitar. He was a simplistic character...someone who dropped down here, got brought down to our way of thinking and ended up destroying his own self. Which is a pretty archetypal story line."

As Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bowie prepared to record the song for an album provisionally called Round And Round, he motivated his musicians by telling them, basically, to think Jimi Hendrix. With lyrics about a star with a "screwed-down hair-do" who "played it left hand," "jiving us that we were voodoo," who took it all too far "but boy could he play guitar," how could anyone not have thought of Jimi?

But the song suggested a whole new concept. When the album now titled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was released in June 1972, RCA promoted it with the slogan "David Bowie Is Ziggy Stardust." Not the catchiest slogan, though it did much to up the intrigue.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, David Bowie exhibit 1972 Ziggy Stardust costume

A month later, when DJ Kenny Everett attempted to introduce Bowie at a London concert, the androgynous figure at center-stage corrected him: "I'm ...


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Allen Toussaint Was an Artist of Great Stature

Monday, December 28: 12:18 p.m.
Posted by John Broven

New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee RIP

To say the news of Allen Toussaint’s death came as a shock is an understatement. Ever dapperly dressed and forever modest, he appeared to be the picture of health for a 77-year-old, still performing regularly until felled by a heart attack after a well-received show in Spain. Known more as a producer, songwriter, arranger, and pianist than a singer, Toussaint was born in Gert Town, New Orleans, on January 18, 1938, and died in a Madrid hotel on November 10, 2015.

I first met him in 1973 when I was conducting interviews for my book, Walking to New Orleans, republished in the U.S. as Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans. With partner Marshall Sehorn, Toussaint was in the process of opening the Sea-Saint Recording Studio at Clematis Avenue in the Gentilly area of New Orleans. He was never outward-going and it’s fair to say that if it hadn’t been for Sehorn, with his promotional acumen, I would never have landed the interview. To my patent surprise, even shock, Toussaint seemed to shrug aside his past, being mainly interested in the present and future. Subsequent events proved him right because for all his early success there were ...


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