Released in the Spring of 1971, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On was a transformative recording for Gaye and his Motown label. The nearly operatic concept album mused deeply on such issues as Vietnam, drugs, the decline of northern cities, the economy and the environment, all over a free-flowing musical backdrop that drew on jazz, pop and classical forms. Gaye referred to the album as a “gift from God,” and the album’s spiritual dimension found overt expression in his liner notes: “We’ve got to find the Lord. Allow him to influence us. I mean, what other weapons have we to fight the forces of hatred and evil?” With his inimitable voice, he provided nuanced perspective that immediately resonated with audiences – and has so for generations.
"My phone would ring, and it’d Motown wanting me to start working and I’d say, ‘Have you seen the paper today? Have you read about these kids who were killed at Kent State?’ The murders at Kent State made me sick," explained Marvin ...
After countless hours researching, interviewing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon and collecting for Paul Simon: Words and Music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum lead curator Craig Inciardi shares some of his favorite things in the new Paul Simon feature exhibit, which opened October 30, 2014.
1. Paul Simon's First Acoustic Guitar
All musicians get their start somewhere. On his 13th birthday, Paul Simon received his first guitar as a gift from his father Louis Simon, who was a musician. His father taught him a few chords and Simon quickly realized that many of the popular songs from the 1950s – the ones he was listening to – used the same chords and patterns. He and childhood friend Art Garfunkel began to write songs using those voicings. The first song they wrote using the Stadium brand acoustic guitar was called “The Girl for Me.”
2. Letter from Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon wrote this letter dated August 13, 1957, when he was attending summer camp in Bellport, New York. Art Garfunkel was at different summer camp in New Jersey, and it was a pivotal moment in their young lives. They had been singing ...
Last night, two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul McCartney appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he talked about former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr. This week Starr learned he was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the 2015 class.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Starr told the story of how McCartney called to break the big news. "He said he'd been talking to Dave Grohl and other people and they were stunned that I wasn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he needed something to do that night, and he's going to give me the award," said Starr of McCartney's phone call. "I didn't know that George [Harrison] and John [Lennon] were in it," Starr added. "I'm not keeping up with it all the time. We'll have a very nice evening and it'll be my pleasure to receive the award… And it means, finally, the four of us are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even though we were the biggest pop group in the land."
Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is proud to announce the 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees. The Rock Hall's 2015 class includes the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Bill Withers, all in the performer category.
This year's class also recognizes the "5" Royales with the early influences award, and former Beatle and solo artist Ringo Starr enters the Hall of Fame – the last of the Fab Four to be inducted as a soloist, following John Lennon in 1994, Paul McCartney in 1999 and George Harrison in 2004.
“As we mark 30 years of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, we’re proud to honor these artists,” said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President Joel Peresman. "These Inductees epitomize rock and roll’s impact over the past 50 years and continuing through today."
Leading up to the April 18, 2015 ceremony, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will host a series of special events, including the grand opening of the major new 2015 Inductee exhibit, which will serve as an introduction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame visitor ...
Last night, 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Metallica kicked off a week-long residency on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson with "Hit the Lights" – a fitting opening volley as it was also the opening track of the group's furious 1983 debut album Kill 'Em All.
For more than three decades, Metallica has been the standard by which metal's vitality and virtuosity are measured. Led by vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, bassist Cliff Burton and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, the group's debut established the thrash metal sound in America.
Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All
The Metallica albums that immediately followed Kill 'Em All – Ride the Lightning (1984) and Master of Puppets (1986) – showed increasing levels of ambition, intensity and technicality. On the strength of those recordings, the band enjoyed a surge in popularity, but tragedy struck during a headlining tour of Europe. Traveling on an icy road in Sweden, Metallica's tour bus lost control, crashing and instantly killing bassist Burton in September 1986. Fans of Cliff Burton will recognize the 1978 Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar that is part of the Rock Hall's heavy ...
Below is an excerpt from Glyn Johns' new book, SOUND MAN: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, the Faces... (On sale now, Blue Rider Press).
The previous year, 1970, the Stones had started recording at Mick Jagger’s house out in the country, near Newbury. By this time, the Stones Truck was fully operational and we used the huge entrance hall of the Victorian pile that was Stargroves to record several tracks that were eventually used on Sticky Fingers. I had mentioned to Pete Townshend in conversation that these sessions had gone really well, so he suggested that we go there to start recording Who’s Next.
We began on the first day with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Not a bad way to start. With Pete’s permission, I edited the synthesizer track from his original demo, as it was a little too long, and played it in to the band in the studio. They performed live to it with remarkable skill, the synthesizer dictating a constant tempo for every bar of the song, with them staying locked relentlessly to it throughout. Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocal equaled ...
The biggest hit of Simon and Garfunkel's career turned into their swan song. The much-loved and critically acclaimed duo personified poetic, collegiate folk rock. Throughout the 1960s, however, Paul Simon's songs increasingly discarded formal language for more colloquial lyrics. Similarly, his music expanded from the folkie roots implicit in his guitar finger picking. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reflected these trends, besides being a typically well-manicured production. Similar qualities characterized Simon's subsequent solo career.
"'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is something of a mystery to me," notes Simon in the Rock Hall's latest exhibit, Paul Simon: Words & Music. "Because nothing prompted me to write it. I was listening to a lot of gospel quartets, particularly the Swan Silvertones and the Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. I was stunned and I thought, 'that’s a lot better than I usually write.'"
With a dramatic piano introduction and majestic melody, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a moving, spiritual song that like the Beatles' "Let It Be" evokes gospel themes without the overt trappings of that genre. Some theorize that its massive success piqued Simon, who not only wrote the tune but also was intimately involved in its ...
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?
"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 ...