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Long Live Rock

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Long Live Rock
Long Live Rock

A music lover’s guide to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Our great road trip: Memphis to Louisville to Cleveland finally culminates at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We came to pay tribute to our heroes and the music we grew up with…and will grow old with. I’ve played guitar in garage bands from the age of 13 and still play today with a fantastic group of talented musicians who play because we love it. Some things never change, and never should. So, here’s our take on the Rock Hall.

It should be noted that Memphis natives argue (with much conviction) that the Hall of Fame belongs there. If you haven’t seen our Memphis blog, please check it out. It starts with the birth of the Blues from the cotton fields to Beale Street. Then to Sam Phillips vision at Sun records and the birth of Rock and Roll. The first inductees came from there! Well…we’ll let you all decide, please comment below!
Set on the shore of Lake Erie, the massive glass pyramids are home to original musical instruments, song lyrics, stage props and wardrobe from the artists that gave us their heart and soul. To bring the Rock Hall’s exhibits to life, you’re immersed in film, video, interactive kiosks, reading material and, of course, the music. Here are the experiences that moved us.

John Lennon said it best…’Before Elvis, there was nothing’. We certainly paid tribute in our Memphis blog…but the Rock hall couldn’t possibly understate the influence of it’s King. Don’t miss the exclusive film, with rare footage, created in collaboration with Elvis Presly Enterprises

Cities and Sounds
We loved this musical journey, tracing the stories of the cities and their artists that gave birth to rocks diversity of social movements, looks and sounds.

1) Memphis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ on: 1948 – 1959
Rock and Roll is born. It includes the history of Sun Records and pays homage to the rock’s pioneers including Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins (the father of Rockabilly), Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and others.

Roy Orbison

2) Detroit – Dancin’ in the Street: 1962 – 1971
Music breaks the racial barriers that once divided us, with a smooth, polished, soulful sound that moves us all, focusing on Detroit during the Motown era. Among those represented in the exhibit are the architect Berry Gordy Jr., and legendary artists including Smokey Robinson, Martha and the Vandellas, the Temptations and of course, the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin.

3) London and Liverpool – Ferry Cross the Mersey: 1963 – 1966
Influenced by early blues and rockabilly, the Brits put their own amazing spin on rock, changing the world as we know it. It’s the British Invasion, from early skiffle to Beatlemania and beyond. Including the most influential group of all time, the Rock Hall pays tribute to the Beatles, Yardbirds, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Zombies and others.

Jimi Hendrix

4) San Francisco – Somebody to Love: 1965 – 1969
The ‘Summer of Love’ gave us hippies, tie-dye, and expressed a sexual and political revolution. Focused on San Francisco during the psychedelic era, key influencers included the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane.

The Allman Brothers

5) Los Angeles – I Love LA: 1965 – 1979
This exhibit pays tribute draws to the era of the singer/songwriter and country-rock. Featured artists include the Eagles, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

The Ramones

6) London/New York/Los Angeles – Blank Generation
Raw energy defines punk music…an outright rejection of 70’s mainstream rock. Featured artists include the Ramones, Patti Smith, the Clash, and the Sex Pistols.

7) Seattle – Smells Like Teen Spirit: 1985 – 1995
The grunge era, not only a genre and sound, but also a scene and fashion statement. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains and other key artists are represented.

More major exhibits not to be missed…

Rave On – Rock and Roll’s Early Years
Pays tribute to the pioneers who created the sound and style of rock and roll, including Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, the Coasters, Buddy Holly…

Chuck Berry

Respect – The Sound of Soul
Smooth and sensual, passionate and heartfelt, soul included elements of the blues, rhythm & blues, doo-wop and, most notably, gospel.

This exhibit chronicles the lives and careers of soul music’s most influential performers, including James Brown, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Al Green, the Isley Brothers, the O’Jays, Curtis Mayfield, Booker T. and the MGs and, of course, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Michael Jackson

Bang Your Head – Heavy Metal
If it’s too loud, you’re too old. Massively amplified and distorted, heart-thumping, blues-based guitar rock came of age during the early Seventies, pioneered with such British bands as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. But heavy metal’s roots can be traced back to the Sixties.

Led Zeppelin (and more)

In America, groups like Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer scored hits (“In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,” “Summertime Blues”) that predicted heavy metal’s assault, while in England, the Who, the Kinks and the Yardbirds and power trios like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience helped create the sound and stance that would come to dominate the genre.


Legends of Rock and Roll
Featuring iconic artifacts from the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Blondie, the Doors, U2, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, the Who, the Supremes, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith and others.


Included here is an show-stopping collection that celebrates the life-changing impact of the Beatles, which has often been noted but can never be overstated. The “Fab Four” from Liverpool, England, energized the lives of all who heard them.

The Beatles

The exhibit includes nearly 70 artifacts:

  • George Harrison’s striped suit from the 1966 US tour
  • Ringo Starr’s 1969 birthday card to John Lennon
  • John Lennon’s black wool coat worn in Help!
  • Paul McCartney’s handwritten arrangement for “Birthday”

In a career that lasted less than a decade, the Beatles changed the course of rock and roll and popular music.

After launching the British Invasion of the United Stated and scoring 20 Number One hits, the Beatles went on to indulge their creative energies in the studio, layering sounds and crafting songs in a way that was experimental yet still accessible.

One of the highlights is a multimedia exhibit that takes you through every Beatles album, with rare studio footage, video and images that documented the amazing progression from ‘I want to hold your hand’ to ‘Let it be’. I could have sat there all day…

A few more highlights…

The Early Influences
The artists who are the roots to the music we celebrate.

  The Beat Goes On
A very cool perspective on the rocks influencers and the artists that made the sound their own.

  Don’t Knock the Rock
It wasn’t always an easy road, and it’s amazing to see how Protests Against Rock and Roll were pervasive throughout its history, and the artists that stood up and wouldn’t back down.

  On the Air: Rock and Roll Radio
Before the digital transformation, radio ruled. Here, the Hall recognizes The radio personalities that delivered the music.


Overall, the experience was immersive, moving and exhilarating. We came a long way and were not disappointed. This musical journey took us through the moments of our lives…transporting us to the places we remember and the people we shared them with. The message below says it best…

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  • Paul says:

    Ed, just finished reading the article. Excellent. Makes you want to go, or go again. It’s amazing when you think about it, like any great movement in history, it was difficult for the creators to start something new which was so different from the existing. But I’m sure glad they persisted. Rock n roll deserves a hall of fame and the people that created it deserve to be honored there. Long live rock n roll.

  • Ed says:

    Paul, well said, excellent comment. Glad you enjoyed the article!

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