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black history month :: Blog

Sam Cooke's magnum opus "A Change Is Gonna Come"

Tuesday, February 9: 4:21 p.m.

the story of Sam Cooke "A Change Is Gonna Come" Rock and Roll Hall of Fame music history

Without a doubt, Sam Cooke was one of the most influential performers in the history of American popular music. His work cut across the genres of gospel, R&B and pop, and Cooke is credited as being one of soul music’s primary architects. 

Cooke was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1931, and his family moved to Chicago when Cooke was a toddler. He started singing in the church, and joined the most popular gospel group in the country, the Soul Stirrers, when he was still a teenager. His career with the Soul Stirrers was enough to secure his place in the annals of music history, but his ambition and talent would take him much further.

With the release of “You Send Me” in 1957, Cooke embarked upon a career in secular music that transcended the boundaries of R&B and pop. He was a pioneering figure in African-American entrepreneurship, gaining remarkable artistic control of his music and the business surrounding it. Recognizing the importance of owning publishing rights to music, he founded his own record label, SAR, with J.W. Alexander and Roy Crain in 1961, despite being courted aggressively by the leading record labels of the day. He ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Event

Hip-Hop Artist Casey Veggies Gets Personal

Tuesday, February 2: 12:18 p.m.
Posted by Carl Harp

Casey Veggies 2016 tour concert in Cleveland, Ohio

As a 14-year-old Inglewood high school basketball star and original member of the Cali super group Odd Future (OFWGKTA), Casey Veggies released his first mixtape, Customized Greatly, spawning a trilogy series. Benching his hoop dreams for a rap career, Veggies continued building off of his early groundwork, landing tour spots with Mac Miller, show dates with west side champs like Kendrick Lamar and Nipsey Hussle, and strategic partnerships with brands like Puma. The autobiography of Casey Veggies consumed the rap globe in the form of his 2015 major label debut LIVE & GROW, a nutritious listen of a young man’s navigation through new adulthood and stardom. 

The Rock Hall caught up with Casey Veggies ahead of his Sonic Sessions concert at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on February 19.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Your concert comes during the Rock Hall’s Black History Month Celebration. One of our other events is a discussion on “Black Music Matters,” kind of a take on the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Your track, “RIP,” is dedicated to people who have lost their lives to police brutality, gang violence and other senseless violence. Like Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” do you see ...


continue Categories: History of Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews, Event

Rock Hall kicks off Black History Month with Double Exposure: African-American Music on Film

Friday, February 11: 12:54 p.m.

As I was finalizing our films for this year’s Black History Month celebration, Double Exposure: African-American Music on Film, I got an email from Mick Csaky, the producer and director of a new film documentary about legendary gospel start Sister Rosetta Tharpe that was broadcast on BBC television in January. But Mick wasn’t checking to see if we could screen the film---he didn’t even know we were doing a film series. He was writing to make his case that Sister Rosetta should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His film, The Godmother of Rock & Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe is a powerful summary of her career, featuring blistering live performances where she displays her guitar prowess and mastery of the stage. He graciously gave us permission to screen the film, which we did this week to kick off our film series.

Gayle Wald, author of a fantastic biography of Sister Rosetta, Shout, Sister, Shout! The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, joined us for the evening. Gayle is chair of the Department of English at George Washington University, where she teaches courses on African American literature, popular music, and U.S. culture ...


continue Categories: Education, Black History Month
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