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Playing with the King: Freddie King, ZZ Top and Muddy Waters

Thursday, July 5: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
(l-r) Joe Bonamassa, Billy Gibbons, Derek Trucks and bassist Dusty Hill perform live

This year, legendary guitarist Freddie King aka the Texas Cannonball was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His searing, assertive solos and gift for showmanship made him among the most revered and subsequently emulated blues guitarists. He was a formidable figure on the nation's two most prominent blues scenes, earning his explosive nom de plume performing in the state where he was born and emerging as a powerful presence on the Chicago circuit. "If you're a guitar player, you better be a Freddie King fan, or you're probably not very good," noted guitarist Derek Trucks.  

At the 2012 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 14, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio, Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top inducted King into the Hall of Fame. They also helped lead a jam that included guitarists Joe Bonamassa and Trucks, as they collectively delivered blistering covers of King classics "Hideaway" and "Goin' Down." 

In this clip, Dusty Hill talks about playing bass with Freddie King, and Billy Gibbons and Hill share the story of when King introduced them to Muddy Waters during a high-stakes card game backstage. Click here to view more videos from the ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit

Today in Rock: Billy Gibbons is Born

Friday, December 16: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Billy Gibbons / photo by Antti Salonen

On December 16, 1949, guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top was born in Texas. Together with bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard, Gibbons launched ZZ Top, as the group shared a passion for such blues masters as 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. From the beginning, they took a hard-rocking power-trio approach to the blues, cultivating a new audience for it in the Seventies and Eighties with superior musicianship as well as attitude, style and some devilishly funny songs. They have written about fast cars, fishnet stockings, sharp clothes, TV dinners, cheap sunglasses and “tush.”

"Rock and roll was certainly considered for so long… the stepchild that didn't have any place to go and yet at the same time it was probably the underlining current carrier that so many people depended on," said Gibbons in a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame interview. Gibbons translated his love of basic blues, boogie, rock and all things Texas-related into the no-frills approach to songwriting that guided ZZ Top's earliest albums, and evolved into a sound that also embraced a union of Texas blues and Memphis soul. T ...

continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Today in Rock

Happy 30th Anniversary, MTV

Monday, August 1: 12:07 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Today, August 1st, marks the 30th anniversary of MTV. Launched in 1981, the network aired its first music video, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles, and has since broadcast thousands of videos on such dynamic series as 120 Minutes  and Yo! MTV Raps. Although initially MTV mainly dedicated itself to sharing music videos, it has since become an influence on popular culture not only in music, but film, fashion and reality entertainment as we know it. However, it's the music video that has arguably been the channel's biggest claim to fame.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum displays dozens of collection items featured in music videos, from ZZ Top's Eliminator Couple used in the "Gimme All Your Lovin'," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" videos to the (yes, THE) jacket Michael Jackson wore in the "Thriller" video. Click here to view a photo slideshow of some of the things you'll see in the Museum that you might just recognize from a music video. And while here, don't forget to also check out the Rock Hall's Video Killed the Radio Star video installation on level two of the Museum.

Andre 3000 ...

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Crossroads Guitar Festival brings guitar legends and their contemporaries together

Monday, June 28: 5:17 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke

I was fortunate to spend this past weekend in Chicago, where Eric Clapton held his third Crossroads Guitar Festival on Saturday. The shows benefit Clapton’s Crossroads Centre, a rehab facility in Antigua, and they are a virtual who’s who of great guitar players. This year’s festival, at Toyota Park, featured performances by everyone from B.B. King and Buddy Guy, to Ron Wood, ZZ Top, Jeff Beck and Johnny Winter, to such relative newcomers as John Mayer, Johnny Lang and Citizen Cope.

Terry Stewart, the Rock Hall’s President and CEO, was also there, and we were able to spend time with some of our inductees, as well as with Larry Yellen, a filmmaker who works on our annual induction videos, and other folks from the music business.

The show always features one-of-a-kind performances, and some of my favorites this year included Robert Cray’s set with Jimmie Vaughan and Hubert Sumlin, ZZ Top’s take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” and Buddy Guy’s performances with Ron Wood and Johnny Lang. John Mayer once again displayed his virtuosity on the guitar, backed by Pino Palladino on bass and Steve Jordan on drums, and Derek Truck ...

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