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Finding John Lennon's "first real major piece of work"

Thursday, December 3: 4:23 p.m.
Posted by Ivan Sheehan

The Beatles and John Lennon In My Life lyrics Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cleveland

John Lennon called "In My Life" his "first real major piece of work." 

The song started as a long poem about the bus ride from his Aunt Mimi's house in suburban Liverpool, where he grew up, to the dockside area of the Mersey River. The poem listed Lennon's beloved childhood haunts, including one locale familiar to Beatles fans: Penny Lane.

"The words were almost irrelevant. 'In My Life' started out as a bus journey from my house at 250 Menlove Avenue to town, mentioning every place I could remember," said Lennon in a 1980 interview. "I wrote it all down and it was ridiculous... it was the most boring sort of 'What I Did On My Holiday's Bus Trip' song, and it wasn't working at all. But then I laid back and these lyrics started coming to me about the places I remember. Paul helped with the middle-eight."

And though Lennon variously referred to "In My Life" as his, the elegiac reverie on life and love, a poignant reflection on what matters most, the essential fragile translucence of things caught in a Beatle melody was so beautiful that neither John nor Paul would ever agree on ...


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

The Sound of California Craze Goes Live with Brian Wilson

Thursday, November 19: 4:20 p.m.
Posted by Carl Harp

Brian Wilson Beach Boys live concert Cincinnati, Ohio, set list November 2015

Brian Wilson has long been an inspiration to his contemporaries and hopeful songwriters around the globe. Much of the popular music that has followed in his creative wake owes a debt to the much-mythologized (and biopic friendly) frontman.  

“Brian Wilson is a genius,” says two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Graham Nash in a video featured in the Rock Hall's Touching the Flame exhibit. “Pet Sounds was a journey from start to finish, and I think that was recognized by John (Lennon) and Paul (McCartney) when they started Sgt. Pepper's… The idea of turning a long-playing record into an actual mental journey was brilliant. Brian Wilson started it, and John and Paul really finished it off.”

But decades later, how would that translate live? Was Brian Wilson a charismatic live performer able to carry the interest of a crowd or better suited to his own devices in the studio? Would any former Beach Boys bandmates reunite with Wilson? I had questions, and on Saturday, November 14, Brian Wilson brought his “No Pier Pressure” tour to the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati, Ohio, giving me answers.

Brian Wilson and Al Jardine Beach Boys live concert Taft Theater Cincinnati Ohio November 2015

The setlist mostly featured Beach Boys songs penned by the eldest Wilson ...


continue Categories: Inductee, Exhibit, Graham Nash, Event, The Beatles, Inside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame

Paul McCartney Shares Behind-the-Scenes Video From 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Tuesday, July 14: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Paul McCartney Behind the Scenes VIDEO 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Cleveland

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sir Paul McCartney surprised Beatles fans by sharing exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage from the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where he inducted longtime friend and bandmate Ringo Starr.

The four-minute video, which was shared on McCartney's YouTube channel, begins with McCartney arriving at Cleveland’s Public Hall, later delivering a rousing: “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, baby. Cleveland. Oh yea!” 

Several inductees are featured in the video, including Stevie Wonder, who embraces McCartney and congratulates Starr. The two Beatles joke with Wonder, saying: “We’re reforming the group, man. You want to join?” We're sure the world would love to see that happen.

After a quick photo-op with 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, McCartney joins nearly all of the 2015 inductees, performers and presenters onstage to rehearse the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends,” from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Then, McCartney, Ringo and Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Walsh run through Starr’s 1971 single, “It Don’t Come Easy.” 

After a clip of McCartney and Walsh reliving their glory ...


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

Beatles Bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Share the Stage at Inductions

Monday, April 20: 3:55 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr live at the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland on April 18, 2015

In among the most anticipated moments of the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Sir Paul McCartney – a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee – took to the stage to induct his friend and Beatle bandmate Ringo Starr into the Hall of Fame. 

Speaking of first meeting Starr in the Hamburg days, McCartney said: "And Ringo was like a professional musician. We were just like, slamming around and doing stuff, but he had a beard — that's professional. He had the suit. Very professional. And he would sit at the bar drinking bourbon and seven. We'd never seen anyone like this. This was like, a grown-up musician.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr together at 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 18, 2015"Eventually [The Beatles] got on The Ed Sullivan Show, and we got really famous. It was just so beautiful. As all the other drummers say, he just is something so special. When he's playing behind you – you see these other bands, they're looking around at the drummer, like, is he going to speed up, is he going to slow down? You don't have to look with Ringo."

After a quick embrace with McCartney, Ringo Starr took the mic, accepting his award and regaling the crowd ...


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Interview with Alan Parsons: The Beatles Final Live Performance, Abbey Road and Rock History

Wednesday, May 21: 11:34 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Alan Parsons donates stage outfits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Audio engineer, record producer, composer and musician Alan Parsons visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a tour stop that's taken him coast to coast in the United States. During his visit, Parsons donated two stage jackets to the Rock Hall's collection, and shared firsthand accounts of his remarkable career: from landing a job at Abbey Road at age 19, to working on the Beatles rooftop performance at Apple Studios in 1969; from his work on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon to his role in some of the Hollies' greatest hits; to his own music with the Alan Parsons Project and as a solo artist.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: You got a job at the fabled Abbey Road when you were quite young…
Alan Parsons: I already had a job with EMI, which is the part company of Abbey Road Studios, and I worked in a sort of associated department, which was called 'tape records.' We were making reel-to-reel quarter-inch albums on tape back then… actually making Beatles albums on quarter-inch tape. And, there was a link from that department to Abbey Road. I wrote to ...


continue Categories: The Beatles, Inductee, Exhibit, History of Rock and Roll, Exclusive Interviews

Beatlemania Comes to the United States

Monday, February 3: 10:15 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall

The Beatles first single to hit Number One in American "I Want To Hold Your Hand"

By December 1963, England had enjoyed nearly a year of Beatlemania. The Fab Four – George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had sold millions of records for EMI's Parlophone imprint. The group’s first single, “Love Me Do”/”P.S. I Love You,” briefly dented the U.K. Top 20 in October 1962, but their next 45, “Please Please Me,” formally ignited Beatlemania in their homeland, reaching the Number Two spot.

It was followed in 1963 by three consecutive chart-topping British singles: “From Me to You” “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They conquered the U.K., even inducing a classical music critic from the Sunday Times to declare them “the greatest composers since Beethoven.” Moreover, they were the greatest rockers since the composer of “Roll Over Beethoven” – Chuck Berry.

Still, success in America remained elusive for manager Brian Epstein and his young charges, as Capitol – EMI's American label – refused to release the Beatles' first four British singles, one label executive noting, "We don't think the Beatles will do anything in this market." Everything would change with "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Written by Lennon and McCartney, and recorded in ...


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John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Tuesday, September 3: 2:41 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
The 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon, on view in the Museum's Beatles exhibit

After a groundbreaking in June 1993 and the realizaition of architect IM Pei's stunning vision, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened to the public on the shores of Lake Erie in September 1995. The day culminated with a benefit concert at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where an incredible roster of rock and roll legends took the stage: Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, the Pretenders, John Fogerty, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, George Clinton, the Kinks, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Booker T and the MGs, Eric Burdon and Martha Reeves. It was just the start.

One of the first pieces of rock and roll history ever loaned to the Museum came from Yoko Ono: the 1964 Gibson J 160E played by John Lennon and used extensively throughout his career. The unique acoustic guitar was part of a collection Ono presented to the Museum on October 13, 1994 and also included handwritten lyrics, a pair of Lennon's eye glasses, Lennon's guitar from the 1965 Beatles concert at Shea Stadium and more.

The Gibson acoustic guitar, however, remains "one of the most precious artifacts that we have in the Rock ...


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Paul McCartney Celebrates 71st Birthday

Tuesday, June 18: 4:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Paul McCartney celebrates 71st birthday

Fresh off a headlining, nearly three-hour set at the 2013 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul McCartney celebrated his 71st birthday on June 18.

As one of the principal songwriters in the Beatles, McCartney helped the band rack up more than four dozen Top 40 US singles, while his prolific solo output – more than 20 studio albums since the Fab Four parted ways – has netted Macca more than 50 Top 10 singles. Given that, McCartney stands among the most successful pop-music composers ever and one of the greatest hitmakers – trailing behind Elvis Presley. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has major exhibits devoted to both Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

His songs often celebrate the mundane pleasures of everyday life. As a songwriter who delights in the quotidian, as opposed to edgier rock and rollers steeped in mystique and risk-taking, McCartney has rarely been a favorite of rock critics. However, his body of work – some of it admittedly lightweight, much of it unjustly dismissed – has given boundless pleasure to the music loving public. Having been the primary melodist within the Beatles, it is not surprising that McCartney’s knack for ...


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