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Rock and Roll Night School :: Blog

Museum’s VP of Education Reveals Inductees Who Have NOT Recorded Holiday Music

Tuesday, December 22: 8:58 p.m.
Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of education and public programs, on stage during Rock and Roll Nig

As we were preparing last week’s special Rock and Roll Night School on rock and roll holiday records, I was amazed at how many Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees had recorded a holiday record. So, being the obsessives that we are, the Education Department staff tried to figure out just how many there are. Here’s our preliminary stats. Note: for the purposes of discussion, we focused on inductees from the Performer and Early Influence category; we counted a band or a duo as one inductee (e.g., The Rolling Stones =1; Bob Dylan =1, etc.); and we included our newest group of inductees (ABBA, The Stooges, The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff, and Genesis).  Here’s what we found:

143 out of 255 Inductees have recorded a holiday record: 72%!

Given how many crazy one-off records are out there, I’m sure that we missed a few. I’ve listed our working list below. Please let us know if we missed any! We’d love hear from you.

Inductees who HAVE NOT recorded holiday songs/albums 


Early Influences

1.    Charlie Christian
2.    Willie Dixon
3.    Billie Holiday
4.    Howlin’ Wolf
5.    Elmore James
6.    Robert Johnson
7.    Professor ...


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Rock Hall President Terry Stewart Shares His Favorite Rock and Roll Holiday Songs

Thursday, December 17: 12 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart
Terry Stewart shares some of his favorite holiday songs at Rock and Roll Night School on December 16

Man oh Man was last night’s holiday edition of Rock and Roll Night School fun! And we all learned so much about a very special niche of music. In fact, we are thinking about doing this again and maybe streaming the program online. So……anybody out there, let us know if this would be something you would like to participate in…and if you can’t make it in person, consider possibly participating online or via the phone.

Below you’ll find a list of my favorite rock and roll holiday songs. Also, feel free to comment on all of the lists if you were here last night. Most importantly, let us know if we missed any holiday songs by Inductees.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Come to Cleveland!

27.) Merry Christmas – Lightning Hopkins
26.) Christmas Presents – Solomon Burke
25.) Not So Merry Christmas – Bobby Vee
24.) There’s Trouble Brewing – Jack Scott
23.) Chipmunk Song – Canned Heat and the Chipmunks
22.) Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy – Buck Owens
21.) Man with all the Toys – The Beach Boys
20.) Papa Noel – Brenda Lee
19.) Chinchy Old Scrooge – Phil Moore
18.) Jingle Jangle – The Penguins
17.) Christmas in ...


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Jazz Rock Fusion and the Rise of Progressive Rock

Tuesday, April 27: 5:39 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley

This past week, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) offered its 31st annual Jazz Fest in the city of Cleveland with events that ranged from community programs to all-star jazz performances.  This year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum partnered with the Jazz Fest to offer two evening programs that explored the connections between jazz and rock.

On Monday April 19th the Rock Hall screened the film Miles Electric: A Different Kind of Blue directed by acclaimed filmmaker and friend of the Museum, Murray Lerner.  The film looks back to the period of musical transition from Miles Davis’ freebop quintet to what later became known as electric Miles, culminating with uncut footage of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee’s legendary performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.  It wasn’t rock and roll, although Bitches Brew (1969) came close, but Davis’ style wasn’t far removed from the acid rock and funk that was filling the airwaves in the late 1960s.  For some extra fun check out the records his wife Betty Davis made starting in 1973 – awesome!  Davis’ band at the Isle of Wight consisted of powerhouse jazz players including Gary Bartz (saxophone), Chick ...


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Hitsville USA

Tuesday, August 3: 12:10 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley
Rock Hall inductee Dennis Edwards of the Temptations (right) with Director of Education Jason Hanley

Last week at the Rock Hall the buzz was all about Hitsville USA.  On Wednesday the Education Department featured a Rock and Roll Night School program on Motown, and on Friday we welcomed Inductee Dennis Edwards of the Temptations for an afternoon Hall of Fame Series event.  And don’t forget that this week is your final chance to see the excellent exhibit MOTOWN: The Sound of Young America Turns 50.

This month’s Rock and Roll Night School, our second on the music of Motown, focused on the years 1964 to 1967, when the label was hitting its stride, cranking out hit after hit, and going head to head with the sounds of the British invasion.  Several factors lead to Motown’s success during this period.  One was Berry Gordy’s vision and business smarts.  By owning the recording, publishing, marketing, distribution, and management he was able to connect every part of the music business and control the sound and image that became the Motown brand.  Another key development was connecting a team of songwriters to a specific musical group.  In the case of Holland-Dozier-Holland this meant teaming with the Supremes and the Four Tops, and the result was ...


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A Million Dollar Jam Session

Thursday, September 29: 4:43 p.m.
The Million Dollar Quartet. Photo credit: Memphis Press-Scimitar

The story of rock and roll is often reduced to a happy mix of rhythm and blues and country music, but it is actually a far richer and more complicated comingling of styles, genres, instruments, cultures and people. For our Rock and Roll Night School last night, my colleagues and I researched a rather famous moment in rock and roll history featuring some of its greatest musicians playing together at an impromptu jam session at Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios in Memphis on December 4, 1956. Coined the “Million Dollar Quartet” by local journalist Bob Johnson who stopped by to chronicle the session, I was struck by the versatility of these legends and the diverse repertory they had in their wheelhouse.

Earlier that day, rockabilly king Carl Perkins had recorded some songs with Sun newcomer Jerry Lee Lewis on piano.  Former Sun superstar (and then RCA recording artist) Elvis Presley was home for the holidays and dropped by with his girlfriend. Johnny Cash swung by for a time as well. As the musicians began to play together, Phillips placed a microphone in the middle of the room and pressed record. What followed were hours of musical exchange, experimentation, improvisation, imitation ...


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The Fabulous Girl Groups

Wednesday, October 12: 12:08 p.m.
The Ronettes

"The Fabulous Girl Groups" is the third installment in a special series that highlights the evolution of women in music by placing their accomplishments, inspirations and influence in the context of the eras that shaped their sounds and messages. "America's Foremothers" introduced the series, and "Pioneers of Rock" was the second feature.

The roots of the girl-group era date back to 1956, the year when a vocal group called Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers lit up the charts with “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” Mary Wilson of the Supremes remembers that many girls around her neighborhood weren’t content just to listen to Frankie Lymon sing on their transistor radios – they wanted to be Frankie Lymon. Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes auditioned for her future producer and husband, Phil Spector, by singing “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” when they met in 1962.

The first real girl-group hit was the Bobbettes’ “Mr. Lee,” which reached Number Six in August 1957, just a month before nine African-American kids had to be escorted by the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to desegregate their high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1958, as Swedish diplomat Agda Rossel became ...


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10 Things You Might Not Have Known About The Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers"

Wednesday, October 9: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The fans voted, and we listened: the Rolling Stones album to be highlighted during tonight's special listening party in the Museum's Foster Theater will be the group's 1971 classic recording Sticky Fingers. After asking fans to decide what Rolling Stones album the Rock Hall should highlight, the votes were tallied and Sticky Fingers rose to the top. Tonight, visitors can listen to the entire album through the Museum's state-of-the-art Foster Theater sound system and take part in an in-depth look at the record led by the Rock Hall's education department. Tune in to the live stream at 8 pm EST here! The Rock Hall will honor the Rolling Stones as the 2013 Music Masters during the week of October 21

Released in 1971, Sticky Fingers captured the sound of the Rolling Stones' inimitable, insouciant style. The album was released less than a year after the group launched its own record label – aptly named Rolling Stones Records – for which they signed a distribution deal with Atlantic Records. The initial releases on the new label were Sticky Fingers and its raunchy, rocking first single, “Brown Sugar.” Musically, the album showcased the band's versatility, from the country ...


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