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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Summertime Blues"

Friday, August 3: 1:14 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

A lot of rock and roll, and especially Sun-label rockabilly, has liquor on its breath. Eddie Cochran – born in Minnesota, a California transplant at age 12 and a teenager until almost the end of the 1950s – never got ruder than a soda-pop belch, musically speaking. His recordings convey youthful good times without the dark undertow of his southern contemporaries. "Summertime Blues" was a B-side, but not for long. Written by Cochran and manager Jerry Capeheart, it's a concise masterpiece: a protest song without rancor, pointedly funny and propulsive. Cochran's teenage frustration will never be out of date. Ten years after being the biggest hit of a tragically short career, "Summertime Blues" survived a lysergic distortion by Blue Cheer to enter the Top 20 all over again. Two years after that, in 1970, the Who was almost as successful with their version, a longtime concert favorite. Eddie Cochran released only one album during his lifetime, which was abruptly cut short when the taxi in which he was a passenger crashed en route to a London airport at the end of a British tour. Also injured in the accident were rocker Gene Vincent and Cochran’s fiancée, songwriter ...


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Remembering Jim Marshall

Thursday, April 5: 1:38 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Jim Marshall's gift to rock and roll

The world of rock and roll lost one of its loudest pioneers on Thursday, April 5, 2012, when Jim Marshall died at the age of 88. 

Born in 1923 in West London, Dr. Jim Marshall, OBE, led his namesake amplifier company for the past 50 years, quite literally channeling the sound of rock and roll guitar. Dubbed "the Father of Loud," Marshall holds a singular place in the pantheon of innovators who developed the instruments and tools that provided the earliest rock and roll players the mechanisms needed to shape a once nascent genre. Along with Leo Fender, Seth Lover and Les Paul, Marshall was among the great patriarchs of the rock and roll sound we've grown to appreciate, cheer, love, emulate and worship.

Marshall used earnings from his days as a drum instructor to open a music shop in the early 1960s, where, as the story goes, his customers included such seminal guitarists as the Who's Pete Townshend. He and other budding guitarists in London would plant the seed of an idea for a guitar amplifier that undercut its American counterparts in price and delivered a signature tone not found in the market.

Whereas rival Fender ...


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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "In The City"

Wednesday, January 18: 2:30 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Jam's "In The City" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

The Jam rode to early popularity on the first wave of British punk. Yet the group, led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Weller, consciously distanced itself from its safety-pinned compatriots and unashamedly looked back to the Sixties for inspiration from the Who, 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees the Small Faces and vintage American soul music. At a time when notions of youth rebellion were much in vogue, "In The City" stands out as a desperate plea for understanding between the generations: In the city, there's a thousand things I want to say to you/But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool/I wanna say, I wanna tell you/About the young ideas/But you turn them into fears. The song was the title track of the group's 1977 debut, a landmark punk recording that showcased the group's bravado and musicianship. Weller's gift for hooks, insightful lyrics, slashing Rickenbacker guitar riffs and the equally urgent playing of bassist Bruce Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler propelled "In The City" to Number 40 in May 1977 and ignited the group's hot streak of 18 consecutive UK Top 40 hits.


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Today in Rock: Remembering Keith Moon

Wednesday, September 7: 5:03 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Who: (l-r) Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle

In the pantheon of rock icons, few lived harder and played more dynamically than Keith Moon, among the greatest rock and roll drummers of all time and the man who embodied The Who's frenetic energy and unconventional wit. Although his eccentric persona earned him the unflattering nickname of "Moon the loon," his innovative drumming garnered accolades and made him one of the rock genre's most influential percussionists. His sphere of influence was wide, and legend has it that Moon suggested to Jimmy Page that he use the name Led Zeppelin – rather than Page's New Yardbirds moniker. On September 7, 1978, Moon passed away at the age of 32, when he overdosed on medications prescribed to combat alcoholism. Thirty-three years later, Moon's legacy can still be heard in The Who's oeuvre – and beyond.

Keith John Moon was born August 23, 1946, the son of Alfred and Kathleen Moon, and raised in Wembley, England. He began playing drums at an early age and after a period performing with the surf rock group The Beachcombers, he joined Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle in London to form The Who. In their prime, the Mod "maximum R&B ...


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