The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Library and Archives Author Series with RJ Smith

Thursday, August 23: 7 p.m.


Author RJ Smith will kick off the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives Author Series with a reading from his acclaimed biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. This event will take place on Thursday, August 23 at 7 p.m. in the Library Reading Room of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives (2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland).  After the reading, Smith will answer questions from the audience and participate in a book signing.  This event is FREE and open to the public.  Seating is limited.  Tickets will become available on Thursday, August 16 at 10 a.m. EST.  To RSVP, visit
The Rock Hall’s Author Series will bring journalists, critics and scholars to the Library and Archives for free readings and discussion sessions.  Authors of both new books and classic texts will be invited on a regular basis.
The One is the definitive biography of the Godfather of Soul, charting his extraordinary life as entrepreneur, civil rights activist, and the most innovative musician of our time.  From the Chitlin’ Circuit to the Apollo Theater, Brown amassed 44 Billboard Top 40 hit singles, played up to 350 shows a year at his peak, and was a showman like no other.
Meticulously researched and beautifully written, The One not only delves into the complexities of Brown as an artist, but also explores his role in the Black Power movement, his high-profile friendships, his complicated personal life, and his loss (and gain) of several fortunes. Brown is deeper, more contradictory, and more important than the song-and-dance man he has been rendered in the past. RJ Smith has crafted a fascinating biography that places Brown in his proper place in the pantheon of music legends, blending this icon’s life with the cultural history of a pivotal era.
RJ Smith has been a senior editor at Los Angeles magazine, and a contributor to Spin and Details. Previously he has written The Great Black Way: Los Angeles in the 1940s and the Lost African-American Renaissance, a California Book Award winner in 2006. Smith contributed to Harvard University Press's A new Literary History of America, published in 2006. He has written for Vibe, The New York Times Magazine, and Yeti. He lives in Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA.
The Library and Archives is at 2809 Woodland Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. The facility is at the corner of Woodland Avenue and East 30th Street, in a shared building with the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). This is approximately two miles southeast of the Museum. Metered parking spaces are available on the street in front of the building or around the block. From there, walk in the building’s main entrance, enter the lobby, and the entrance to the Library and Archives will be immediately on the right. There is also a Visitor Parking area in Lot 6 of the parking garage. These spaces should be paid for at meter stations located nearby. From the garage, enter the building's back entrance, take the elevator on the left to the first floor, enter the lobby, and look for the entrance to the Library and Archives on the left.  For a map of the Tri-C Metro Campus, visit

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