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Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Tipitina"

Wednesday, May 16: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" is one of The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

If New Orleans music is a gumbo, pianist Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd – better known as Professor Longhair – is one of the chefs who filled the pot and lit the cooking fire. Variously hailed as “the Picasso of keyboard funk” and “the Bach of rock,” Byrd's syncopated music was as infectious as it was uncategorizable: his playing mixed blues, ragtime, zydeco, rhumba, mambo and calypso, while his hoarse singing voice cracked as it crept toward the high notes. A meandering recording career started in 1949 with two of his most popular songs, "Mardi Gras In New Orleans" and "She's Got No Hair," with the label crediting the tracks to "Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians." A year later, under a different record company (Mercury) and using his real name (Roy Byrd & his Blues Jumpers), he rerecorded "She's Got No Hair" as "Bald Head," his first and only national R&B hit.

In 1953, while recording for Atlantic (his fourth label in five years ), Longhair cut yet another classic, "Tipitina." Pianists from Fats Domino and Huey "Piano" Smith to Allen Toussaint and Dr. John acknowledge Longhair's influence. The hum-along nonsense syllables and stutter stepping left-hand rhythm of "Tiptina ...


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American Music Masters Moments: Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew

Thursday, October 27: 11 a.m.
Dave Bartholomew dancing during a 2010 American Music Masters event

American Music Masters Moments: Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew is the second installment in a series that shares stories from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's American Music Masters® events through the years. The first post in the series remembered Les Paul. Beginning in 1996 with a tribute to Woody Guthrie, the American Music Masters series has honored artists who've been instrumental in the development of rock and roll with a range of events celebrating their careers. Each AMM brings together musicians from around the world, setting the stage for special, once-in-a-lifetime moments. These are those stories.

For me, the best part of American Music Masters is hearing first-hand stories from the musicians who worked with the honoree. They tell fascinating stories about recording sessions, concerts and late-night card games. When we honored Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew last year, we were able to bring the surviving members of their original band to town: Billy Diamond (bass), Ernest McLean (guitar), and Herb Hardesty (saxophone). It had been years since they all were together, and listening to them sitting around, reminiscing with Dave Bartholomew and Cosimo Matassa, who recorded them all at J&M Studies in New Orleans ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Education, Exclusive Interviews

Now this is the way to start a new year!

Thursday, January 6: 3:24 p.m.
Fats Domino with his 2010 American Music Masters Award.

My favorite Christmas present arrived by email: a photo of a smiling Antoine “Fats” Domino in his home in Louisiana, holding his 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame American Music Masters Award. Domino’s daughter sent it to us in December. We wish Fats could have made it to Cleveland in November, but we all stayed in touch over the week with photos and streaming video and text messages, so it felt like Fats and his family were close by. This year’s program honoring Fats and Dave Bartholomew was a great success—it brought together all the Museum’s resources: exhibits, classes for students and adults, distance learning classes to New Orleans, interviews, a conference, and a course the great tribute concert—topped off with the Rebirth Brass Band playing in the lobby of the Palace Theater. We just couldn’t say good night too soon! You can see photos from the week and some videos from the conference here.

The New Orleans music magazine Off Beat will be honoring Dave Bartholomew with a Lifetime Achievement Award later this month, and they just published a great story on Dave and American Music Masters, written by Domino’s biographer ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Event, Hall of Fame, American Music Masters, Education, Exclusive Interviews

Teachers are inspired to make change happen in the classroom during American Music Masters week

Thursday, November 18: 11:37 a.m.
Roots of Music: After-School Music Education in Post-Katrina New Orleans class at the Rock Hall

As I’ve mentioned before, this year’s 15th annual American Music Masters series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew has been a homecoming of sorts for me – taking me back to my former hometown of New Orleans.  Last week’s Teachers Rock workshop, featuring Allison Reinhardt and Lawrence Rawlins of the acclaimed Roots of Music program, paid tribute to the musical legacy of both our AMM honorees as well as to the musical heritage of the city of New Orleans, by drawing attention to a program that works tirelessly to keep these musical traditions alive, with students who, in a very real way, are fighting themselves to survive.

As a fourth and fifth grade special education teacher for what is now known as the Recovery School District in New Orleans, I witnessed the struggles of the city’s schoolchildren first-hand.  Years of educational neglect coupled with the crippling devastation of Hurricane Katrina left its mark in every imaginable way.  The children of New Orleans deserve better.

Unfortunately, as we know all too well, when schools are struggling – financially, academically, or in this case, both – music education is one of the first things to go.  In a city like New ...


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Dr. John, Fats Domino, and the piano

Monday, November 8: 12:44 p.m.
Posted by Jason Hanley
Pictured from top: Fats Domino; Dr. John

Over the past few weeks I have traveled to New Orleans several times and had the chance to see Dr. John perform live at Lafayette Square, play with the band Widespread Panic, and even sit next to him as he played in a small rehearsal studio just west of the French Quarter.  Each time my eyes were fixed on his hands as he moved them effortlessly across the keys.  What an amazing player; Dr. John holds the history of New Orleans piano music in his head and the soul of the sound in his hands.

The reason I’ve seen him so many times is that Dr. John and his band, the Lower 911, will be the house band for the upcoming American Music Masters Tribute to Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.  It is a perfect combination: Dr. John leading the band that will honor one of the giants of rock and roll piano, Fats Domino.  As you can imagine I have been thinking a lot about the music of New Orleans, the piano style of Fats Domino, and the rhythms of Mardi Gras.  What makes Fats’ music so exciting is the way it blends together several major musical ideas ...


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An amazing coincidence during a Rock Hall distance learning class

Tuesday, November 2: 9:29 a.m.
Slide taken from the class presentation.

One of my favorite New Orleans words is "lagniappe." Pronounced "lan-yap," it means something extra, a bonus. It can also be defined as an unexpected gift.

For me, this year’s American Music Masters series honoring Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew has been nothing but lagniappe. Having moved to Cleveland from New Orleans about a year and a half ago, I’m beyond excited to celebrate the music and spirit of my former hometown, and to pay homage to one of the greatest partnerships in rock and roll history. The line-up for the tribute concert on November 13th alone is phenomenal, not to mention the week’s worth of events that precede it. This is not to be missed – believe me.

The real gift to me, however, came last week when I was able to connect with a seventh-grade class at the Intercultural Charter School of New Orleans East, with an On the Road distance-learning program on Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, and New Orleans rock and roll. Working with teachers at the school and with KID smART, a local arts integration education initiative, we were able to present a special interactive video-conferencing class just to them, and just for them ...


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The Rock Hall's 15th Annual American Music Masters series will honor Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew

Thursday, August 19: 4:05 p.m.

“There is no, no, no place like New Orleans for music. The pioneers are here. We built the house. You can redecorate it, but we laid the foundation.”

-Dave Bartholomew
 
We are very excited about this year’s American Music Masters Series!  The program, entitled “Walking to New Orleans: The Music of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew” will be held here in Cleveland November 8-13th. Domino, a legendary piano player, wonderful singer, and galvanizing performer, and Bartholomew, an accomplished trumpet player, arranger and bandleader, make up one of the great partnerships of rock and roll. They wrote more than 50 songs together, including “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m in Love Again” and “I’m Walkin.’” In a 1999 interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Dave Bartholomew said “Fats and I, I think that the Lord put us together.” Domino responded, “I’m pretty sure...Who else would do it?” We are so grateful to our honorees and their families for all their help in making this event possible. We met with them back in June, which Terry Stewart described in a previous blog post.
 
Because Domino and Bartholomew both predate rock and roll and are first ...


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Partnering with the Unsung Heroes of New Orleans Music Scene

Friday, July 2: 2:50 p.m.
Posted by Terry Stewart

An exciting sidebar to our recent trip to New Orleans (see previous blog) concerns the Museum’s partnering with the Louisiana Museum system to assist in the restoration of one of Fats Domino’s pianos.  As most know, Mr. Domino lost virtually everything because of the flooding from Katrina.  This included his pianos.

The remains of one is on display at the Cabildo in New Orleans’ Jackson Square as part of the exhibit Unsung Heroes: The Secret History of Louisiana Rock ‘n’ Roll.  A second one is about to be restored and used as a performance instrument in a new exhibit.  Sam Rykels, Director, informed us that they were looking for the financial support to put the piano back in playing condition.  We felt that this was an excellent opportunity for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to help out and start to forge a relationship with this wonderful institution in the city which is the cradle of the music that we celebrate.

As the project progresses, we’ll keep everyone informed, so stay tuned.


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