Although her official title was as a director of Motown's artist development department, Maxine Powell was much more than her role suggested. "Motown owes a great debt to Maxine," says Ruthie Brown, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's director of community programs and friend of Powell. "The artists knew what she was trying to do, and deep down, they wanted her refinement. They mimicked the image of the average American teenager – white, black, it didn't matter. The crossover was extremely successful. Motown was 'the sound of young America," and Maxine helped Berry Gordy get that image across." Powell passed away on October 14, 2013. She was 98.
Powell worked with Motown artist during a pivotal period in Motown's meteoric rise, from 1964 to 1969, when she helped shaped the public – and often private – personalities of the Detroit label's biggest names. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Berry Gordy Jr., the founder of Motown Records, said that Powell “brought something to Motown that no other record company had,” adding of his artists, “She was tough, but when she got through with them, they were poised, professional and very thankful.”
Born in Texarkana, Texas ...
It's not every day that the Rock Hall gets a serious request to borrow Janis Joplin's iconic Porsche 356C cabriolet from our collection. Almost daily, visitors and fans from around the world ask questions like "Can I take it for a test drive?" But this time was different. We agreed to hand over the keys – though it wasn't quite that simple.
The Rock Hall’s collections department receives regular requests from museums, galleries, schools, event organizers and even television shows to borrow an artifact or two for their projects. They come from all over the United States, but more and more are streaming in from overseas. Just within the last year we have had inquiries from Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, Hungary, Russia, Dubai and Canada. Many are compelling, interesting and hard to pass up, while some are downright quirky.
One of the more exciting inquiries we have received this year is from the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. They asked to borrow Janis Joplin’s 1965 Porsche 356c Cabriolet to include in their exhibition entitled Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed, a 22-car display of rare Porsche automobiles owned by such personalities as Steve McQueen and ...
Despite her frequent identification as a "folk singer," Ani DiFranco has culled from an eclectic songbook on more than 20 albums. Perhaps grounded in folk, two decades into her career, DiFranco's expansive catalog has been peppered with soul, funk, jazz, electronic music, spoken word and more. Along the way, she's crossed paths with the likes of Chuck D., Dr. John, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and many more, while espousing "to use her voice and her guitar as honestly and unflinchingly as she could."
Ani DiFranco's current tour, in support of her latest ¿Which Side Are You On?, included a stop in Cleveland, where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame caught up with her to learn more about what's inspired and influenced DiFranco over the last 20-plus years.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?
Ani Difranco: The first records I ever bought were cassette tapes. I remember driving across the country with a mere handful of them, which I listened to repeatedly. I had a Robert Johnson recording, I had Bob Dylan's Oh Mercy, I had Prince's Purple ...
With more than a dozen albums and nearly 30 years under their collective belt, Yo La Tengo – Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew – have enjoyed success entirely on their own terms. They've played everywhere, from the world’s best-known concert halls and museums to dives and clubs, dominating critics’ lists, doing a "Simpsons" theme, playing the Velvet Underground in I Shot Andy Warhol, sharing stages with some of the most important musicians of our time, and even creating a holiday tradition onto themselves with their yearly series of Hanukkah shows at Hoboken, New Jersey’s legendary club Maxwells, from which they’ve donated hundreds of thousands to charity.
In 2013, Yo La Tengo released Fade, featuring 10 songs recorded at Chicago's Soma studios with producer John McEntire. The resulting collection of songs features that band's signature layered arrangements, flush with controlled guitar noise and strings; alongside gentle, whispered pop flights.
Kaplan, Hubley and McNew recently visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as the Rock Hall's Library and Archives. While here, the Rock Hall caught up with Kaplan, who shares thoughts on his first records, favorite Yo ...
In addition to the Jim Morrison–led call to arms “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” the Doors self-titled debut album included “Light My Fire.” Penned by guitarist Robby Krieger in his first songwriting attempt, the song catapulted the group to stardom, topping the charts for three weeks during the Summer of Love. For purposes of AM-radio airplay, the single version of “Light My Fire” was edited from its nearly seven-minute album sprawl to just under three minutes. With the Doors quickly gaining a loyal following – and notoriety owing largely to the charismatic if untrammeled personality of Morrison – the group were booked as a musical guest on The Ed Sullivan Show airing September 17, 1967. It didn't go as the producers had hoped, as the resulting episode followed keyboardist Ray Manzarek's assessment of the mid Sixties: "the battle was between the hip and the non- hip, the heads and the straights, the psychedelics and the squares – and that was basically the battle – the establishment against the hippies."
Best Coast's 2013 tour dates recently included a stop at the Grog Shop in Cleveland. After the concert, during a rare moment of free time, band members Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where they were struck by such artifacts as the handwritten lyrics to the Beach Boys' classic song "God Only Knows."
Based in Los Angeles, Best Coast formed in 2009 around the duo of Cosentino and Bruno, quickly releasing a host of 7" and EP recordings. In 2010, the group's single "When I'm With You" proved a breakout hit and was followed that July by Best Coast's debut album, Crazy For You. All the material showcased Cosentino and Bruno's lo-fi aesthetic and pop-hook sensibility, with references to the surf rock and girl groups of the Sixties the band admired.
With extensive touring and popular music videos – including 2011's "Our Deal" directed by Drew Barrymore – the band's star continued to rise. The band's sophomore effort, The Only Place, was released in 2012.
In this interview with Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, the singer and songwriter talks about her influences – from Blink 182 ...
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 ...
Silversun Pickups – guitarist and vocalist Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao and keyboardist Joe Lester – emerged on the LA music scene in the early 2000s alongside their 2005 debut, Pikul. The group's following grew dramatically in 2006 with the release of Carnavas, featuring the breakthrough single "Lazy Eye." That album and subsequent releases, including 2009's Swoon and 2012's Neck of the Woods, have showcased the band's gift for electrifying soundscapes, textured arrangements and male-female vocal harmonies.
The Grammy-nominated quartet visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on August 8, 2013, touring the Museum before a gig at Cleveland's famous Agora Theater. Silversun Pickups singer/guitarist Brian Aubert sat down for an interview with the Rock Hall.
Rock Hall: What was the first record/CD you ever bought and do you still listen to it?
Brian Aubert: The first album I remember buying was Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual. I was really little, and I was on a family trip to Anchorage, Alaska. I found it in a mall and the purchase made me feel like an adult. Yes, I do listen to it here and there.
RH: What ...