The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum


john lennon :: Blog

The 50th Anniversary of the Beatles at Shea Stadium

Saturday, August 15: 3:47 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

On August 15, 1965, the Beatles performed before a crowd of more than 55,000 ecstatic fans in New York City’s Shea Stadium. That’s a lot of screaming.

The legendary performance was the first ever in a major U.S. stadium, and is known as perhaps the most famous Beatles’ concert – well, maybe that infamously cut short rooftop gig ranks higher.

The 1964 Ludwig drum kit played by Ringo Starr during that Shea Stadium gig was also used on six Beatles’ albums, as well as during their last official concert appearance in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966. Can you think of a more iconic drum set?

John Lennon’s 1964 Rickenbacker electric guitar used during the performance was one of two guitars made especially for Lennon while visiting America for the first time in 1964, and used on the Beatles second-ever Ed Sullivan appearance. It soon became his primary instrument, and still has the set list from Shea Stadium taped to the side.

Hard to believe that 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of that Beatles’ milestone – and that Beatlemania would still be alive and well! Both the Ringo Starr Ludwig drumkit and the John Lennon Rickenbacker ...


continue Categories: Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Exhibit, Today in Rock, Rock's Greatest Guitar Players, The Beatles, Inductee, Hall of Fame

Yoko Ono and U2 Unveil Moving John Lennon Tribute

Thursday, July 30: 5:18 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

This week marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon's deportation order being overturned by the United States government. To mark the occasion, Yoko Ono, Bono and the Edge of U2 were on hand for a ceremony on Ellis Island, where a giant tapestry depicting the island of Manhattan as a yellow submarine with a waving Lennon was unveiled. July 29 was declared John Lennon Day in NYC.

John Lennon United States Green Card 1976 New York City

“They let him stay, and he is still here. Yoko, he is still here,” said Bono during a series of remarks.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved to New York in September 1971. When his temporary visa expired in February 1972, the Nixon administration sought to have him deported, using a 1968 conviction for marijuana possession as ammunition. After a years-long battle, Lennon finally won the right to stay in the United States in 1975, receiving his green card in 1976. That green card, pictured above, is among the items featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Beatles exhibit.

"He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell ...


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

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "Imagine"

Tuesday, October 9: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
John Lennon's "Imagine" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

"Imagine" became one of the enduring anthems of John Lennon's post-Beatles work. In an interview days before his death, he made a case for the brotherhood of man and woman: "That should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song. A lot of it – the lyric and the concept –came from Yoko, but in those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution, but it was right out of Grapefruit, her book; there's a whole pile of pieces about imagine this and imagine that, and I have given her credit now long overdue." Ono downplayed her involvement, claiming the period was ripe for mutual inspiration. Lennon responded, "Yeah, but if it had been Bowie, I would have put 'Lennon/Bowie' if it had been a male, you know... but when we did it, I just put 'Lennon' because, you know, she's just the wife and, you know, you don't put her name on, right?" Co-produced by Lennon, Ono and Phil Spector, "Imagine" was recorded in July 1971 at John's home studio in Tittenhurst Park. It reached Number Three on Billboard's Hot ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Spotlight Exhibit: John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120

Friday, June 15: 1 p.m.
Posted by Howard Kramer
John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120

the Beatles tribute weekend at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in ClevelandAfter the Beatles achieved success, they could afford the kind of instruments they had only dreamed about as struggling musicians. Although Gretsch guitars were primarily associated with George Harrison, John Lennon acquired this particular guitar in 1966. He used it during the recording of "Paperback Writer" in April of that year. 

In this video, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum curatorial director Howard Kramer discusses the guitar and the unique circumstances that brought it to the Rock Hall, where it is on display as part of the Museum's Beatles exhibit.

WATCH: Spotlight Exhibit: John Lennon's 1963 Gretsch 6120


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Spotlight Exhibit, Event

The Beatles Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Thursday, June 14: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988

the Beatles tribute weekend at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland,OhioThe arrival of the Beatles triggered a musical revolution in the Sixties. Emerging from Liverpool, England, the Fab Four's sound took root in Europe, with songs like "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" touching an audience who were looking for something to take them from the doldrums into which rock and roll had fallen. "In England, during  those very early days, just while the Beatles were recording their first songs, it was a real wasteland – England had nothing to really offer as far as pop music was concerned," said the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger when he inducted the Beatles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.  "At that point, the Stones were playing in these little clubs in London, doing Chuck Berry songs and blues and things, and we loved doing that. And we were a pretty scruffy lot, and we thought we were totally unique – animals – I mean there was no one like us. And then we heard there was a group from Liverpool."

The Beatles’ music - with its simultaneous refinement (crisp harmonies, solid musicianship, canny pop instincts) and abandon (energetic singing and playing, much screaming and shaking of mop-topped locks) – ignited the ...


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

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: the Beatles – "Strawberry Fields Forever"

Wednesday, June 13: 12 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The Beatles "Strawberry Fields Forever" is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

the Beatles exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in ClevelandA very different Beatles had emerged by the genesis of "Strawberry Fields Forever." The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had traded much of the mop–topped gaiety and matching-suit panache for a more bohemian consciousness. They were no longer married to the stage, but rather exploring the boundaries of studio recording, indulging creative whims as producer George Martin helped realize the band's ambitious visions. Such musical acumen came to fruition with "Strawberry Fields Forever," a song born of fantast Lennon. "Of all the Beatles recordings, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' is known for being among the most complicated and difficult to record," noted writer Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962-1970

Despite esoteric lyrics about a childhood haunt of Lennon's (No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low / That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right) and a beguiling arrangement, "Strawberry Fields" remains a singular pop song. It was the first song recorded for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band when sessions began on November 24, 1966, following a months-long period ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll, Event

Curating the Beatles

Monday, June 11: 1 p.m.
Posted by Jim Henke
The Beatles at Shea Stadium on August 23, 1966 original concert poster

the Beatles exhibit at the rock and roll hall of fame and museum in ClevelandThe Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is very fortunate to have what is most likely the finest, most extensive Beatles exhibit anywhere in the world. That exhibit is the result of relationships we have built over the years. I have been the chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland since 1994, before the Museum opened, and one of the first people I contacted when I got the job was Yoko Ono.

Prior to joining the Museum, I was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine, where I had interviewed Yoko. In addition, Jann Wenner, the editor and publisher of Rolling Stone and one of the founders of the Hall of Fame, was friends with Yoko and John Lennon. Having made those connections, I first arranged to meet Yoko at her apartment at the Dakota in New York City in 1994. Much to my surprise, she had an enormous amount of material related to her late husband John, going back to things like his school report cards and a swimming certificate. She also had many of his handwritten lyric manuscripts, guitars, clothing and other personal effects. Yoko agreed to ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Event

Today in Rock: The Beatles hit Number One with "Come Together/Something"

Tuesday, November 29: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Axl Rose and Bruce Springsteen perform the Beatles' "Come Together" at the '94 Rock Hall Inductions

On November 29, 1969, the Beatles were at the top of Billboard's Hot 100, earning their first two-sided Number One single with "Come Together/Something." It became the Fab Four's 18th Number One single – one more than Elvis Presley's 17, which he reached on November 1 that year with "Suspicious Minds." On the week of November 29, Billboard changed the way it calculated its charts, ranking both sides of double-sided singles in the same position rather than separately. This was key to the Beatles' Number One climb, as the previous week saw "Come Together" fall to Number Seven and "Something" hold strong at Number 3.

"Come Together" and "Something" appeared on Abbey Road, the Beatles' 11th studio album, released in the United States on October 1, 1969. George Harrison's "Something" was the first of his musical compositions to be released as an A-side to a Beatles' single. In Harrison's partial autobiography, I, Me, Mine, he explained of "Something": "This I suppose is my most successful song with over 150 cover versions. My favorite cover version is the one by James Brown – that was excellent." Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Shirley Bassey, and Booker T. and the ...


continue Categories: Hall of Fame, Inductee, Today in Rock
Page 1 of 2. next