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Jimi Hendrix :: Blog

Songs They Wish They'd Written with Ray Davies, Slash and St. Vincent

Tuesday, August 19: 12:17 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

the Supremes, Jimi Hendrix and Slash at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Clevleand, Ohio, exhibit

British music magazine NME recently published a feature asking more than two dozen performers what are the songs they'd wish they had written. The responses gathered from artists young and old, across genres, included nods to the likes of Bob Dylan ("It's Alright Ma(I'm Only Bleeding)"), David Bowie ("Ziggy Stardust" and "Life on Mars?"), James Brown ("Hot Pants" and "Cold Sweat"), Abba ("The Winner Takes It All"), the Beach Boys ("God Only Knows"), Ike and Tina Turner ("Nutbush City Limits") and more. (pictured, clockwise from left: Jimi Hendrix's 1967 Gibson Flying V dubbed "Love Drops;" Slash performs live at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony; dresses worn by the Supremes in 1969.)

"Cole Porter and Irving Berlin are just the best," Ray Davies of Hall of Fame Inductees the Kinks told NME. "Songs by Chuck Berry, Otis Redding and Hank Williams I love, too. Or anything Holland-Dozier-Holland did for the Supremes." All those artists – as well as the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland – are Hall of Fame Inductees and feature prominently in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sounds and Legends exhibits.

2012 Hall of Fame ...

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Essential Eddie: Van Halen’s Greatest Guitar Solos

Monday, January 26: 3:59 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley

Eddie Van Halen Greatest Guitar Solos of All time

In the pantheon of rock and roll's greatest guitarists, there is a cadre of fabled axemen who consistently bubble to the top, including such Hall of Fame Inductees as Jeff Beck, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, BB King and Jimmy Page – all artists represented at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. And no discussion of six-string masters would be complete without Eddie Van Halen, the innovative firebrand that turned the world of guitar playing on its ear in the late 70s and early 1980s.  "I was so used to doing old blues licks with the first three fingers," Van Halen once explained to a reporter. "When I started using my pinky and finding more spread things, that's when I started getting my own style." That style went on to influence millions of budding shredders. Here are five tracks that contributed to that influence:

Guitar Solo, from Live Without a Net (1986)
Van Halen went out with something to prove during the live tour for the 5150 album. With new singer Sammy Hagar, the band had to show fans and critics alike that it could keep rocking without Diamond Dave ...

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The Unsung Versions of Jimi Hendrix's “Star-Spangled Banner”

Tuesday, March 24: 4:10 p.m.
Posted by Mark Clague

The sheer emotional impact of Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sparked my fascination. His squealing guitar effects depicting the incoming descent of bombs that were soon “bursting in air,” grabbed me, especially as intensified on film when Hendrix “lip synched” the resulting cries and screams. His performance makes the abstract so very human. For me Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem of August 18, 1969, remains atop the list of the most powerful performances of Francis Scott Key’s song ever created

Jimi Hendrix "The Star Spangled Banner" rare performances live

Beyond Woodstock: The Other Hendrix "Star-Spangled Banner" Performances 

The Woodstock anthem gets even more interesting when compared with the other 40 or so surviving recordings of Hendrix performing the song. They reveal Hendrix’s artistic as well as political evolution and define the critical and patriotic extremes of his expression to place Woodstock firmly in the middle as a combination of both. Here's a look at five incredible Hendrix versions of "The Star Spangled Banner.' Want more Hendrix? Catch Mark Clague going deep on all-things Hendrix at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives on Wednesday, March 25, 2015!


1. August 16, 1968—Merriweather Post Pavilion (Maryland)

Hendrix first references the anthem melody a year ...

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The Rock Hall's Guide to the Essential Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Songs

Thursday, April 16: 2 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley

The studio and live LPs released during the last seven years of 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Stevie Ray Vaughan's life ensured his place in Stratocaster immortality and influenced the next generation of blues guitarists. With Double Trouble bandmates Tommy Shannon on bass, Chris Layton on drums and Reese Wynans on keyboards, the Texas-born blues-rock powerhouse forged a sound that influenced and inspired countless players around the globe.

2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

“Love Struck Baby”
The first song on the debut album from Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Texas Flood, released on June 13, 1983 – it was also the first single from the album. But don’t be fooled if it sounds too good to be a new band; Stevie Ray formed the band in 1978, and the final lineup had come together in 1980 consisting of SRV, Tommy Shannon (bass), and Chris Layton (drums).

“Pride and Joy”
This song is a great example of a Texas Shuffle (in which the guitar plays a triplet pattern over the quadruple meter of the band). Listen to how in the opening Stevie Ray plays all the off beats with an upstroke on the guitar to emphasize them. It makes for a great ...

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The E Street Band's Nils Lofgren: "what Chuck Berry was to Keith Richards, Keith Richards is to me"

Tuesday, August 4: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Nils Lofgren

During a recent tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, we caught up with 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee, much-lauded solo artist, E Street Band guitarist and incredible storyteller Nils Lofgren who shared how he first became interested in playing the guitar, a faithful night seeing both the Who and Jimi Hendrix in concert, the influence of Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones, the Beatles; and the "god awful" music he and Bruce Springsteen made while backing Chuck Berry in Cleveland at the Rock Hall's opening concert.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Your first instrument as a child was the classical accordion. How did that come about? 

Nils Lofgren: Well, I spent eight years on the South Side of Chicago, where I was born. When I was five, every kid played accordion. I asked to take lessons, and I did. After the waltzes and polkas, you move in to classical or jazz. My teacher sent me in to classical accordion. It was an enormous musical study and backdrop, and, as a young teenager, I fell in love with the Beatles and Stones. Through them, I discovered the British invasion, the American counterpart of great rock bands in the 60s; Stax ...

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Dead & Company Raise Spirits on Night of Paris Attacks

Wednesday, November 18: 5:02 p.m.
Posted by Carl Harp

Dead & Co concert John Mayer November 13 2015 columbus ohio

Compassion, peace and a celebratory atmosphere have loyally followed the Grateful Dead for five decades, yet the reformed group's November 13, 2015 concert began on a somber note.
After taking the stage with his Dead & Company bandmates, grabbing his guitar and briefly warming his fingers, Bob Weir started the show with a eulogy: “So to begin, we have some bad news from Paris. And really I think the best thing we can do, all of us are doing, is remember, celebrate the lives of the 60 or so Parisian concertgoers who died today at the hands of religious extremists, who if they had their way, would outlaw music in all the world." He implored Deadheads to celebrate the lives of those who lost their lives in the Paris attacks "and the joy that they found in music.”

For the hours leading up to the Dead & Company tour stop at Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Arena, social media feeds and news reports were filled with the news unfolding across the globe; and with tragedy occurring at a concert, I could not help feel grief, slight paranoia and empathy.

Dead & Co concert John Mayer November 13 2015 columbus ohio

Following Weir’s dedication, he and the band (John Mayer on guitar and ...

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Did the Vietnam War Have a Soundtrack?

Tuesday, November 24: 1:52 p.m.
Posted by Doug Bradley

The Animals We Gotta Get Out of This Place Vietnam War songs

Doug Bradley, author of DEROS Vietnam, has written extensively about his Vietnam, and post-Vietnam, experiences. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in March 1970 and served one year as an information specialist (journalist) at U.S. Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV) headquarters near Saigon.

I first became a soldier in a war zone on Veterans Day (November 11) 1970. It’s an irony I’ve wrestled with for 45 years, due in part to the precise timing of U. S. Army tours of duty in Vietnam, which meant that Uncle Sam would send me back home exactly 365 days later — on November 11, 1971.

Needless to say, the date is etched in my mind and will always be. It’s personal, of course, but in a way it’s lyrical, too. I say that because my earliest Vietnam memories aren’t about guns and bullets, but rather about music.

As my fellow “newbies” and I were being transported from Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base to the Army’s 90th Replacement Battalion at Long Binh, I vividly recall hearing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles singing “Tears of a Clown.” That pop song was blasting from four or five ...

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