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The Rock Hall's Guide to the Essential Bill Withers Songs

Wednesday, April 15: 2 p.m.

In a recording career that lasted only 15 years, but left a lasting legacy, 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Withers mastered the vocabularies of the acoustic singer-songwriter, R&B, disco and even mainstream jazz, while maintaining a distinctive personality as a composer and vocalist. Here are my picks for essential Bill Withers songs.

2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Withers

“Ain’t No Sunshine”
A breakthrough hit from Just As I Am (produced by Hall of Fame Inductee Booker T. Jones), “Ain’t No Sunshine” set the framework for the Bill Withers sound with its sparse arrangement, direct,  no-frills lyric and in the pocket groove. It was also a bona fide hit, reaching Number Three on the Billboard 100 in 1971.

“Grandma’s Hands”
“I was one of those kids who was smaller than all the girls. I stuttered. I had asthma. So I had some issues," recalled Bill Withers. "My grandmother was that one person who would always say that I was going to be OK. … When you're a weaker kid, whoever champions you becomes very important to you." This song is a tribute to those healing hands.

“Who Is He (and What is He to You?)”
Just the right undertone ...


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

8 Incredible Items in the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit

Monday, April 6: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee exhibit opens April 11, 2015, and will feature amazing stories and incredible pieces from this year's class: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the "5" Royales, Green Day, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, and Bill Withers.

Here are eight of our favorite items in the new exhibit, from a mirrored-star shirt designed by Slash's Mom to an infamously muddy outfit that was at the center of a near-riot at Woodstock '94.

2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Withers

1. Bill Withers' Main Guitar

Bill Withers was in many ways an anomaly in the music business. In the “Black Power” era of funk and flash, as he put it, “[In] 1970, 1971 or something, you know, I’m this black guy coming out sitting on a chair with an acoustic guitar.” His songwriting and performance style was understated, subtle, simply and straightforwardly constructed, and both articulate and honest. Withers' Martin acoustic guitar model D-35 was his main instrument, used to write and record with, and on stage for live performances.

2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Green Day Woodstock 1994 Billie Joe Armstrong

2. Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day's Woodstock '94 Outfit

Woodstock '94 in Saugerites, New York, was ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, History of Punk, History of Rock and Roll, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exhibit

Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Paul Simon tells the story of "Mrs. Robinson"

Wednesday, October 29: 2:11 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Who was Mrs. Roosevelt and what's her relation to Mrs. Robinson? Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Where does Paul Simon come up with his lyrics?

What is the meaning of the lyrics to "Mrs. Robinson?" Paul Simon explains.

"So goodbye to Mrs. Roosevelt, all along the road down to glory hallelujah," Simon recites from an old handwritten lyric manuscript (pictured) featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's new exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music. "I don't think of what I do as writing poetry, but the language may have imagery in it."

Watch Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon talk about how "Mrs. Roosevelt" became the famous "Mrs. Robinson," the real background to the "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio" lyric and more:

Opening on October 30, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland's new exhibit Paul Simon: Words & Music will feature exclusive candid commentary gathered from hours of filmed interview footage that walks the audience through the personal story of Simon’s life and his creative process. This opening marks the Museum’s first-ever exhibit anchored by first-person narration by the artist. In addition to the autobiographical films, there will be videos of select performance highlights from Simon’s ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Inductee, Hall of Fame, Exclusive Interviews, Library and Archives

Alan Freed

Monday, August 4: 9:03 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is not diminishing Alan Freed's presence in the museum. Alan Freed was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in our inaugural year, he will continue to be prominently displayed in our exhibitions, his story is an important part of our education programming, his collection is a major part of our Library & Archives, and we will continue to support the annual Moondog Coronation Ball, which celebrates the world's first rock and roll concert that Alan Freed produced here in Cleveland.

Since 2002, we have exhibited Alan Freed’s cremated remains in the Museum.  Nearly a year ago, we initiated a conversation with the Freed family about the possibility of returning the ashes so that they could be moved to a more appropriate resting place. In the past year, we have met with Lance Freed and Cleveland City officials to discuss more suitable locations, including Lake View Cemetery – the final resting place of many important historical figures, including John D. Rockefeller, President Garfield, Elliott Ness and other dignitaries. We are hopeful that is where the ashes will ultimately reside, as it’s important to us that Alan Freed ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces Ticket Sales for 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Thursday, February 20: 7 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Tickets on sale March 1, 2014!

Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces ticketing information for the 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The 2014 Ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and will again be open to the public, as it has been for the Induction Ceremonies in Cleveland (2009, 2012) and Los Angeles (2013). This will be the first time that the ceremony will be open to the public in New York. 

The ceremony will honor this year’s recently announced Inductees: Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall and John Oates, KISS, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt and Cat Stevens; as well as Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement Inductees Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham; and Award for Musical Excellence Inductee The E Street Band. Details about performances, presenters and special guests will be announced at a later date. The Induction Ceremony will premiere on HBO in May.

Ticket Purchase Information

American Express Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Monday, February 24 at 9 am EST through Friday, February 28 at 10 pm EST. 

The public on-sale will begin on Saturday, March 1 at 10 am EST. To ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Exhibit, Event

New Elvis Presley Exhibition at Rock Hall

Wednesday, November 13: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Elvis Presley

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises will open a new Elvis Presley exhibit on Friday, November 29, 2013, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Main Exhibit Hall, in Cleveland. 

One of the most important artists of the 20th century and part of the first-ever class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees in 1986 (see the complete list of 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees), Presley's status as a rock and roll icon is singular. Writer Lester Bangs may have said it best when he quipped: “I can guarantee you one thing - we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis.”

What's New in the Elvis Presley Exhibit?

More than 40 artifacts are on loan from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Highlights from the collection include a 1975 custom-made "SuperTrike" motorcycle and a selection of Presley's famous jewelry. The exhibit helps tell the Presley story, showcasing "The King" as a young man, with his official, wallet-size U.S. Army induction portrait that was taken and issued upon his arrival for basic training circa 1958; as ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Stories behind the Guitars of Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones

Tuesday, August 20: 12:21 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Picture of Keith Richards' 1959 Gibson ES-355 electric guitar

In 1975, Ronnie Wood replaced Mick Taylor as guitarist for the Rolling Stones. It was another turning point for the band: “Ronnie was damn good glue for the band. He was a breath of fresh air,” said Richards. He and Richards went back to the band’s default rhythmic style, playing together to create the sound of a single intricate guitar. This compositional style had not been played consistently since Brian Jones’ tenure in the band. Wood helped to revitalize the band’s music and spirit, and it proved to be exactly what the Stones needed.

“’Beast of Burden’ is a good example of the two of us twinkling felicitously together,” said Richards. Wood’s slide guitar and pedal steel work made a big impact when recording and also on stage, and the chemistry between Wood and Richards can be heard when listening to Rolling Stones songs such as "It's Only Rock and Roll," "Hey Negrita," "Miss You," "Far Away Eyes" and "Start Me Up." 

These two Rolling Stones video clips go behind the scenes, highlighting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's latest major exhibit Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction, on view through March ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, Rolling Stones, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Spotlight Exhibit: Chuck Berry's Handwritten Lyrics

Wednesday, October 17: 10:31 a.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday with two special exhibits

Among the first artists ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Chuck Berry is often referred to as the "Father of Rock and Roll" – a well deserved title, according to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer. In this clip, Kramer shares the handwritten lyrics to two of Chuck Berry's famous recordings: "Carol" and "School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell)." The Rock Hall will celebrate Chuck Berry's 86th birthday on October 18 with two special exhibits: a Chuck Berry Spotlight Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and a special Chuck Berry exhibit at the Rock Hall's Library and Archives. Berry is the 2012 American Music Masters honoree, and his life and work will be celebrated with a weeklong series of events beginning on October 22, 2012 and culminating in a Chuck Berry–tribute concert on October 27, 2012.


continue Categories: American Music Masters, Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit, Event
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