Monday, March 1, 2010

Music history finds a new home inside Rock Hall's library and archives at Tri-C's Center for Creative Arts

By John Soeder, The Plain Dealer

February 28, 2010, 6:30AM

In the conservation lab, a movie poster for "Love Me Tender" starring Elvis Presley in his big-screen debut ("Mr. Rock 'n' Roll in the story he was born to play!") is unfurled on a table, awaiting inspection. Around the corner, a worker pulls a "We Are the World" album off a stack of LPs as she takes inventory for a computer database. In another room, pallets are piled high with boxes containing everything from David Bowie and Jefferson Starship videos to a vinyl copy of "Gary Puckett & the Union Gap's Greatest Hits" -- a fresh shipment of history, ready to be processed.

Welcome to the attic of rock 'n' roll heaven, otherwise known as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's library and archives.

Rock around the archives

Here's a taste of some of the cool items in the Rock Hall archives:

  • Buddy Holly's diploma from Lubbock Senior High School in Lubbock, Texas.
  • Jimi Hendrix's handwritten lyrics to "Purple Haze," originally subtitled "Jesus Saves."
  • Record mogul Ahmet Ertegun's 1969 appointment book, in which the evening of May 26 is blocked off for an Incredible String Band concert.
  • Documentation from Alan Freed's 1959 payola trial, including testimony from promotion manager Bernard Friedlander of United Artists, which paid Freed to play its records on his radio show.
  • Jim Morrison's death certificate, which lists the cause of death as "Unknown, pending Doctor's statement."
  • The passport of Joseph Vernon Turner, aka Big Joe Turner, the blues singer whose hits included "Shake, Rattle and Roll" and "Corrina, Corrina."
  • -- John Soeder

    The facility won't open to the public until November or December, but staffers are hard at work there already.

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