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Interview with Peter Asher, half of legendary duo Peter & Gordon

Monday, November 4: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Peter Asher in 2011 / photo by Michael Weintrob

Peter Asher’s legendary music career began in 1964 with the formation of Peter & Gordon. In 1968, Asher became head of A&R for the Beatles newly formed record company, Apple Records. Three years later, Asher decided to literally head in a different direction and moved to the U.S., where he founded Peter Asher Management. Peter Asher Management became one of the most successful artist management companies in America, handling artists such as Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and Carole King. Asher has produced 12 Grammy Award-winning recordings, and in 1977 and 1989 was honored individually with the Grammy Award for “Producer of the Year.” Playing select dates now, Asher stopped by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, to talk about his recent projects, keeping current, and being among the first people to ever hear the Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand" when Paul McCartney was staying at his house.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Tell us about the dates you're playing now...

Peter Asher: It's not really a tour it's just occasional dates. I have so much fun doing it. To be honest, I ...


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Interview with Singer/Songwriter Ani DiFranco

Monday, September 30: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Ani DiFranco / photo by Shervin Lainez

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 ...


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John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Tuesday, September 3: 2:41 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon, on view in the Museum's Beatles exhibit

After a groundbreaking in June 1993 and the realizaition of architect IM Pei's stunning vision, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened to the public on the shores of Lake Erie in September 1995. The day culminated with a benefit concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where an incredible roster of rock and roll legends took the stage: Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, the Pretenders, John Fogerty, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, the Kinks, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Booker T and the MGs, Eric Burdon and Martha Reeves. It was just the start.

One of the first pieces of rock and roll history ever loaned to the Museum came from Yoko Ono: the 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon and used extensively throughout his career. The unique acoustic guitar was part of a collection Ono presented to the Museum on October 13, 1994 and also included handwritten lyrics, a pair of Lennon's eye glasses, Lennon's guitar from the 1965 Beatles concert at Shea Stadium and more.

The Gibson acoustic guitar, however, remains "one of the most precious artifacts that we have in the Rock ...


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Interview with Coliseum Singer and Guitarist Ryan Patterson

Monday, August 12: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Coliseum band (l-r): Kayhan Vaziri (bass), Carter Wilson (drums), Ryan Patterson (vocals/guitar)

After a decade of delivering their own riff-heavy brand of metallic rock harkening back to the punk, hardcore and post-hardcore sounds of their predecessors, Coliseum – vocalist and guitarist Ryan Patterson, bassist Kayhan Vaziri and drummer Carter Wilson – will perform live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Summer in the City concert on August 14, 2013. 

The group recently released their fourth full-length, Sister Faith, a 13-track blast of galvanized melodies at the collision point between punk and noise-rock. "Though punk rock may have been the template (and paradigms do shift), songwriting and emotional content have become Coliseum's focus," noted John Baizley of metal contemporaries Baroness. "And to that end, they have gracefully transitioned from the unrelenting anger, rage and rawness of youth to a more thought-provoking, yet no-less-powerful or insightful sound that is entirely their own."

The Rock Hall caught up with Ryan Patterson of Coliseum to talk rock and roll – everyone from Tom Petty, Run DMC, Les Paul and Bad Brains to the Beatles, the Who, Sex Pistols and Public Enemy.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: What artists did you listen to when you were growing up and what about them appealed to you ...


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The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger Celebrates 70th Birthday

Friday, July 26: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
A younger Mick Jagger strums a guitar.

Today, Rolling Stones frontman and songwriter Mick Jagger celebrates his 70th birthday – and he has much to celebrate. Fresh off the successful "50 & Counting" tour and a triumphant return to Hyde Park, the Rolling Stones singular musical juggernaut has been delighting, beguiling, inciting and confounding fans and critics alike for more than five decades. The Rolling Stones discography includes 29 studio albums and 18 live albums, and Jagger has recorded five solo albums. There have been three dozen Top 10 Rolling Stones albums on the Billboard 200 chart, and the band has an estimated 66.5 million RIAA-certified US albums sold and sales awards. Hot Rocks alone has sold more than 12.5 million units according to the RIAA. The group's epic touring schedules and larger than life productions have helped make the Stones among the top grossing touring acts of all time. And Jagger isn't slowing down.

See highlights from the Rolling Stones' career in this colorful Rolling Stones infographic

"I'm very proud to work with this group of musicians for 25 years," said Jagger in his 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction speech. Jagger was joined on stage by Rolling Stones guitarist Mick ...


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At the Library and Archives: Cleveland Punk Legend Peter Laughner Collection of Recordings and Articles

Wednesday, July 24: 2 p.m.
Posted by Jennie Thomas
The Peter Laughner collection at the L&A helps tell the story of Cleveland's underground 70s scene.

The latest addition to the Library and Archives' Northeast Ohio Popular Music Archives is the new Collection on Peter Laughner, Cleveland punk legend. In his short lifetime, Laughner co-founded both Rocket from the Tombs – a band described by writer Lester Bangs as "an amphetamine-driven blend of Velvets-Stooges" – and Pere Ubu, and was a contributing writer to rock magazines like Creem and an all-around gadfly of the Midwest and New York rock scenes. Journalist Richie Unterberger wrote of Laughner, "As a singer, songwriter, and performer in numerous Cleveland bands, he was probably the single biggest catalyst in the birth of Cleveland's alternative rock scene in the mid-'70s. 

The Peter Laughner collection at the Library and Archives includes rare vinyl, ¼-inch and audiocassette recordings of Laughner solo and with his bands, as well as performances from his wife, poet Charlotte Pressler. Those keen on learning more about the 1970s Cleveland underground music scene will want to read Pressler's first-hand account in the issue of CLE Magazine, also included in the collection; while those interested in Laughner’s pre-punk career will want to take a look at the poster for his first band, a blues group called Mr. Charlie ...


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Rod Argent of the Zombies Delivers Letter to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Monday, July 22: 2 p.m.
Posted by Rod Argent
(l-r) Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of the Zombies in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

On a rare day off on our recent U.S. tour, both The Zombies and the band supporting us, Et Tu Brucé had the honour of being given a fantastic V.I.P. tour of Cleveland's superb Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

We have actually visited before – as far as we can recall, though, not for eight years or so – but were absolutely stunned by the way the place has grown in that time, both in a physical sense and also the nature of what it has to offer. In actual fact, we stayed about three hours, and only managed to wander around about a third of it! It's an absolutely fascinating place, and one that now definitely demands to be visited several times – there's just too much to be packed in on one visit.

PHOTO GALLERY: The Zombies Tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

We started off by being given a kind and warm welcome by Greg Harris, who is, I believe, the head of the whole operation. Then we were shown around the vaults, to get glimpses of some of the stuff not presently available to be shown to the ...


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Rock Hall Members Vote for Madonna in Museum

Saturday, July 20: 9 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Jewelry worn by Madonna live during "Like A Virgin" era on exhibit through July 2014 at Rock Hall

Each year, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum members play a role in determining a new artifact to be exhibited at the Museum, the Members Choice artifact. Hundreds of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members voted from a list of artifacts including Joan Jett’s jewelry, belt, and jacket she wore in the “I Hate Myself for Loving You” video and Peter Buck of R.E.M.’s 1989 Rickenbacker guitar. When all the votes were counted, the 2013 nod went to the Material Girl, the Queen of Pop and Hall of Fame Inductee: Madonna.

As a woman who has lived life on her own terms, Madonna has been an icon to many since bursting on the scene in 1981.

No one in the pop realm has manipulated the media with such a savvy sense of self-promotion. Madonna’s appearance on the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards broadcast live on September 14, 1984 is a case in point. Wearing a white lingerie-cum-wedding dress ensemble, she writhed across the stage at Radio City Music Hall while performing her hit “Like A Virgin,” shocking sensibilities and setting the stage for her reputation as one of the most uninhibited and ...


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