The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will launch its much-anticipated exhibit celebrating iconic musical instruments that gave rock & roll its signature sound. “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” opens at the Rock Hall on November 22, 2019 following a blockbuster stint at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where it topped 600,000 visitors. Co-organized with The Met, the exhibit offers a rare, in-depth look at the artists and instruments that made possible many of the songs we know and love. This is the only time these iconic instruments will be seen together in one massive collection.
To celebrate the occasion, the Rock Hall is inviting fans to an opening event with several Inductees whose iconic instruments are part of the exhibit including Don Felder formerly of The Eagles, Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo of Metallica. Tickets for the “Play It Loud” opening event on November 21st at 8 p.m. EST at the Museum are on sale now at ticketing.rockhall.com. Tickets are $30 for members and $50 for non-members and include full touring privileges of Rock Hall exhibits (including “Play It Loud”), live music and entertainment, a complimentary drink ticket, and dessert bar.
“Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll” is the largest single exhibit ever at the Rock Hall and takes over four floors. Instruments showcased span from 1939 to today and many have never been displayed outside of their original concert performance settings.
The exhibit is organized thematically, exploring how musicians embraced and advanced emerging technologies, the phenomenon of the “guitar god,” the crafting of a visual identity using instruments, and the destruction of instruments in some live performances, one of rock’s most defining gestures.
From Bruce Springsteen’s iconic guitar to a flamboyant costume worn by Prince to videotaped interviews with artists, fans can examine personal items up close, including:
- Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar
- Eric Clapton’s Martin acoustic guitar model 000-42 used during his famous MTV Unplugged concert
- Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf” guitar
- Jimi Hendrix’s hand-decorated electric guitar, dubbed “Love Drops,” made in 1967
- James Jamerson’s upright bass used on many early Motown hits
- Keyboard John Paul Jones used to record “Stairway to Heaven”
- Eddie Van Halen’s performance rig from 2013
- Tina Weymouth’s “headless” Steinberger bass guitar that she used extensively with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club through the late 1990s
- Steve Miller’s electric guitar painted with psychedelic designs ca. 1972
- Keith Richards’s hand-painted Gibson Les Paul Guitar used to record Beggars Banquet
- A sculpture made from what was left of one of Pete Townshend’s electric guitars after he smashed the instrument during a photoshoot
- St. Vincent’s electric guitar, which Annie “St. Vincent” Clark designed in collaboration with Ernie Ball Music Man in 2015
- A selection of vintage posters from historic concert performances
Other stories shared and instruments on display include ones played and beloved by the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain, Sheryl Crow, Bo Diddley, The Eagles, Kim Gordon, Wanda Jackson, Joan Jett, Metallica, Joni Mitchell, Kate Pierson, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Roots, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and other rock & roll greats. Also, on display are several rigs used in live performances and sound recordings, along with exclusive interview footage featuring Tom Morello, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Eddie Van Halen.