If you haven't noticed from the blog posts, I LOVE music, especially classic rock. I even took "The History of Rock" as a college course (Best. Class. Ever.**). So when we showed up to see the NASA Cleveland site, and found the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was right next door, my husband knew that it was going to be a long day!
This museum is six stories tall and very comprehensive. We started in the 'Roots of Rock & Roll' theater, and learned about how gospel, Motown, rockabilly, blues, western swing, and 40's pop (think Perry Como) fused into this new beast. Interesting fact : the phrase "rocking and rolling" originally used as a sexual analogy by the African community.
The boys had a chance to listen to examples from the root origins (eg, blues, swing) and then to see what bands were the result of mixing certain roots. Below, they are researching the Beatles and Rolling Stones. It counts as music theory class, right?
We headed into the 1950s with Elvis Presley...easily the most crowded exhibit in the museum. The boys had a chance to participate in an on-air radio show - I believe it was a Sirius station.
We learned about several types of guitars, drums, and pianos that gave various bands their unique 'sound,' including the twelve-string guitar used by Roger McGuinn to give The Byrds that "twangy, jingle-jangle."
Further on in, we saw the 1960s and 1970s broken down into it's 'styles,' including the British Invasion, Punk Rock, Garage Bands, Psychadelic Rock, etc. The museum has great visuals showing how the roots of rock continued to intertwine to create each of these genres.
The highlight of my tour was getting to see the Allman Brothers piano and Janis' Porshe, and my husband made sure to rag me about it for the rest of the visit!
Of course, then we went up one level and discovered one of his favorites, Pink Floyd, in a larger-than-life-sized (and somewhat disturbing) rendition of The Wall. If you've never gone psychedelic, try putting on the soundtrack to The Wall while watching the Wizard of Oz . Remember to start them at exactly the same time...
On the very top floor is one, loud, continuous rock concert. You can't go through all of that history and not want to just rock out, and the museum is happy to comply with that need. We happened to show up during Woodstock, but you might also see Lollapalooza or a FarmAid show. The first cd my dad ever bought me was the Woodstock soundtrack , and I was happy to share the show with my boys (but only the music portion).
Soon enough, it was time to hit the road again. We spent longer than anticipated in Cleveland, and still had several hours of drive time left for the day...our aim was upstate New York. The boys took a few turns rolling down the steep hills beside the museum, and then we headed for Bessie.We ended the day at Niagara Falls, NY, where we took the kids to (where else?) Hard Rock Café for dinner and a show. Rock on, y'all.
- School of Rock
- Roots of Rock N Roll: 1946-1954
- The Rock History Reader
- The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll
- Shake Rag unit study (Free)
- Shake Rag: From the Life of Elvis Presley
**I took "History of Rock & Roll," aka MUSC143, at UNC during it's first year, when it was quite the controversial course offering. Many years later, it is still offered and considered one of the more difficult ones to master. Time marches on.