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Rock Hall Exhibit To Feature Iconic Instruments And The Stories Behind Them

Nov 8, 2019

Credit Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Four floors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland will be transformed later this month with an exhibit featuring some of the most iconic instruments in music history. Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll will showcase the tools musicians used to craft the songs fans know and love.

"We co-curated this exhibit with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, arguably one of the greatest art museums in the world," Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Greg Harris said. "But the installation here in Cleveland is bigger, and it has some artifacts that weren't in New York. We also include a lot more of the musician's personality and not just the artifact as a work of art. So this tells the stories, and it has a lot more graphics and video content. It's just a different presentation. It was great in New York, but it's going to be really extra special here at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame."  

Many of the instruments have never been displayed outside of their original concert performance settings, and each one tells a story and brings back a memory.

"When you see all of these things together, it's almost like flipping through the greatest Rock & Roll moments of the last five decades," Harris continued. "There's pieces and parts that jump out at you. It could be contemporary artists like The Roots, seeing their whole setup. Or it could be an actual guitar that Jeff Beck played while with The Yardbirds. I do go back to one of the most powerful stories for me - Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode. He records that song with this actual guitar, and it becomes this iconic song. Frankly every guitar player that picks up a guitar learns that lick. The lead-in to Chuck Berry is one of the first things you learn. To think it all started with that instrument is a powerful moment."

Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll opens to the public November 22. A special opening ceremony takes place the night before and will include former Eagles guitarist Don Felder, Heart's Nancy Wilson, and Metallica's Kirk Hammett. Tickets are available at rockhall.com.